Rodney Brooks and Clara Vu will discuss human-robot interaction at TC Sessions: Robotics 2022 – TechCrunch

Robots have transformed automation across industries such as agtech, automotive, logistics, manufacturing and warehousing. Yet even the most advanced robots typically work in restricted workcells away from people due to safety concerns.

The field of human-robot interaction (HRI) offers the potential for robots with sufficient cognitive smarts to work effectively and safely alongside humans in places such as factory floors. The rise of the collaborative robot — or cobot — is well underway, with a projected market value of $8 billion by 2030.

We’re thrilled to announce that two roboticists at the forefront of HRI — Rodney Brooks, Founder and CTO of Robust.AI (and co-inventor of Roomba, the popular household robot), along with Clara Vu, Co-founder and CTO of Veo Robotics — will join us on stage at at TC Sessions: Robotics 2022 on July 22 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Our conversation will cover the current state of HRI, the challenges of developing robots with “common sense,” and the technologies required for people and robots to work in close proximity. Of course, we’ll ask what they’re up to right now and what’s coming down the road.

We’ll also ask how long it will be before cobots become part of the everyday work environment. And what kind of training infrastructures do we need to create as more efficient cobots to replace human workers in physically demanding or repetitive menial jobs?

Robotics legend Rodney Brooks founded Robust.AI in 2019 with a mission to build a first-of-its-kind industrial-grade cognitive platform for robots. The goal is to make robots that are smarter, safer, more robust, context-aware and collaborative. Such robots could function reliably in construction, eldercare, households and other highly complex environments.

In 2020, Robust.AI raised a $15 million Series A.

In addition to his roles at Robust.AI, Brooks, an award-winning computer scientist, taught and held directorships at MIT. He was also founder and CTO at Rethink Robotics and iRobot.

Veo Robotics, an industrial automation company founded in 2016, created FreeMove, a comprehensive 3D safeguarding system for industrial robots that powers dynamic human-robot collaboration. In other words, it turns run-of-the-mill industrial robots into machines that respond to humans.

When human skill and creativity join forces with the strength and speed of robots, the result is a flexible human-robot interaction, which would help manufacturers adjust to continuous, rapidly changing market demands.

In 2019, the company raised a $15 million Series A.

As Veo Robotic’s co-founder and CTO, Clara Vu leads the engineering team and developments of the computer vision-powered sensing and intelligence used by four of the biggest industrial robot companies in the world: FANUC, Yaskawa, ABB and Kuka.

With more than two decades of robotics experience, Vu has developed multiple products from inception to market. She began her career at iRobot programming robots for oil well exploration; she then moved on to interactive toys and the Roomba.

Prior to Veo, Vu was co-founder and director of software development for Harvest Automation, the makers of mobile robots for agricultural automation.

Don’t miss a fascinating conversation with Rodney Brooks and Clara Vu, two roboticists on the cutting edge of human-robot interaction, about the reality and potential of humans and robots working side-by-side.

TC Sessions: Robotics 2022 takes place in person on July 22 in Boston, Massachusetts. Buy your pass by Friday, June 24 at 11:59 pm (PT) and save $200.

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