Section: Application Domains

Application Domains

Cognitive Sciences The computational modelling of life-long learning and development mechanisms achieved in the team centrally targets to contribute to our understanding of the processes of sensorimotor, cognitive and social development in humans. In particular, it provides a methodological basis to analyze the dynamics of the interaction across learning and inference processes, embodiment and the social environment, allowing to formalize precise hypotheses and later on test them in experimental paradigms with animals and humans. A paradigmatic example of this activity is the Neurocuriosity project achieved in collaboration with the cognitive neuroscience lab of Jacqueline Gottlieb, where theoretical models of the mechanisms of information seeking, active learning and spontaneous exploration have been developped in coordination with experimental evidence and investigation, see https://flowers.inria.fr/neurocuriosityproject/.

Personal and lifelong learning 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 society. Yet, to realize this vision, important obstacles need to be overcome: these robots will have to evolve in unpredictable homes and learn new skills in a lifelong manner 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. In particular, this application domain requires advances in artificial intelligence that go beyond the current state-of-the-art in fields like deep learning. Currently these techniques require tremendous amounts of data in order to function properly, and they are severaly limited in terms of incremental and transfer learning. One of our goals is to drastically reduce the amount of data required in order for this very potent field to work. We try to achieve this by making neural networks aware of their knowledge, i.e. we introduce the concept of uncertainty, and use it as part of intrinsically motivated multitask learning architectures, and combined with techniques of learning by imitation.

Human-Robot Collaboration. Robots play a vital role for industry and ensure the efficient and competitive production of a wide range of goods. They replace humans in many tasks which otherwise would be too difficult, too dangerous, or too expensive to perform. However, the new needs and desires of the society call for manufacturing system centered around personalized products and small series productions. Human-robot collaboration could widen the use of robot in this new situations if robots become cheaper, easier to program and safe to interact with. The most relevant systems for such applications would follow an expert worker and works with (some) autonomy, but being always under supervision of the human and acts based on its task models.

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 occurrence 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.

Automated Tutoring Systems. Optimal teaching and efficient teaching/learning environments can be applied to aid teaching in schools aiming both at increase the achievement levels and the reduce time needed. From a practical perspective, improved models could be saving millions of hours of students' time (and effort) in learning. These models should also predict the achievement levels of students in order to influence teaching practices.