Home / Tech News / MIT’s new Ford-funded robot can deftly navigate pedestrian traffic

MIT’s new Ford-funded robot can deftly navigate pedestrian traffic



Robots have a lot of challenges remaining before they become commonplace in our lives, and many of those are likely not even something you’d think about when trying to make a list. One good example is simply walking around among people, and keeping pace with pedestrians on streets and sidewalks. MIT engineers have created a new autonomous robot that can do exactly that, however, in a way that doesn’t impede or inconvenience the people it’s walking alongside.

Why is this important? Because future robots employed in service roles will have to navigate densely populated spots with a lot of foot traffic, including hospitals, malls, neighborhoods and campuses. That’s why an MIT team led by MIT researcher Yu Fan “Steven” Chen set out to create a robot that can move around completely on its own using “socially aware navigation” – in other words, following the unspoken social codes we all unconsciously observe when moving around together in shared space.