Section: Application Domains
Personal robotics. Many indicators show that the arrival of personal robots in homes and everyday life will be a major fact of the 21st century. These robots will range from purely entertainment or educative applications to social companions that many argue will be of crucial help in our aging society. For example, UNECE evaluates that the industry of entertainment, personal and service robotics will grow from $5.4Bn to $17.1Bn over 2008-2010. Yet, to realize this vision, important obstacles need to be overcome: these robots will have to evolve in unpredictable homes and learn new skills while interacting with non-engineer humans after they left factories, which is out of reach of current technology. In this context, the refoundation of intelligent systems that developmental robotics is exploring opens potentially novel horizons to solve these problems.
Video games. In conjunction with entertainment robotics, a new kind of video games are developing in which the player must either take care of a digital creature (e.g. Neopets), or tame it (e.g. Nintendogs), or raise/accompany them (e.g. Sims). The challenges entailed by programming these creatures share many features with programming personal/entertainment robots. Hence, the video game industry is also a natural field of application for FLOWERS.
Environment perception in intelligent vehicles. When working in simulated traffic environments, elements of FLOWERS research can be applied to the autonomous acquisition of increasingly abstract representations of both traffic objects and traffic scenes. In particular, the object classes of vehicles and pedestrians are if interest when considering detection tasks in safety systems, as well as scene categories ("scene context") that have a strong impact on the occurence of these object classes. As already indicated by several investigations in the field, results from present-day simulation technology can be transferred to the real world with little impact on performance. Therefore, applications of FLOWERS research that is suitably verified by real-world benchmarks has direct applicability in safety-system products for intelligent vehicles.