James Kuffner & Toyota Research Institute

Robotics is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation. High-performance networking and cloud computing has radically transformed how individuals and businesses manage data, and is poised to disrupt the state-of-the-art in the development of intelligent machines. This talk explores the long-term prospects for the future evolution of robot intelligence based on search, distributed computing, and big data. Ongoing research on autonomous cars and humanoid robots will be discussed in the context of how cloud-connectivity will enable future robotic systems to be more capable and useful.James Kuffner is a researcher in the Cloud Computing division of the newly formed Toyota Research Institute (TRI). He was formerly with Google, where he started as a research scientist on Google's self driving car project until he took over as the head of Google's Robotics division in 2014. He worked to bring together Google's vision of "Cloud Robotics", envisioning how network-connected robots could take advantage of distributed computation and data stored in the cloud. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where his focus is on motion planning, humanoid robotics and computer animation. Academically, he is best known for his work in Rapidly Exploring Random Trees (RRTs), an algorithm designed to efficiently search nonconvex, high-dimensional spaces. This algorithm is highly applicable in automomous robotic path planning.