Learn more about the new and growing field of probabilistic (or statistical) robotics.
A robotics researcher has been announced as one of the recipients of the 2009 Leibniz Prize - the most prestigious German research prize awarding up to €2.5 million per award. Wolfram Burgard, Associate Professor of Computer Science and head of the research lab for Autonomous Intelligent Systems at the University of Freiburg, was awarded the prize based on his work on probabilistic robotics, which focuses on robot perception and control in the face of uncertainty.
Co-author of a book by the same name ("Probabilistic Robotics" from The MIT Press), Burgard has shown from his research that it is possible to estimate the position and orientation of a mobile robot efficiently, even without knowing its starting position. Previously this had not been thought to be practically possible.
For more on probabilistic robotics, a technical article by Sebastian Thrun - also a co-author of "Probabilisitic Robots" - describes the basics of probabilistic robotics (PDF) and highlights some of the field's recent successes. In addition, an interesting online probabilistic robotics tutorial is available from the same author.
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