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European researchers are making progress on piecing together a new generation of machines that are more aware of their environment and better able to interact with humans. (Credit: Image courtesy of ICT Results)
Because of the complexity most robots developed to date have tended to be reactive. They simply react to their environment rather than act in it autonomously. Similar to a beetle that scuttles away when prodded, many mobile robots back off when they collide with an object, but have little self-awareness or understanding of the space around them and what they can do there.