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The World of Robots to be Guided by Artificial Intelligence

Under the guidance of artificial intelligence, the robots will learn to move with humans and interact with the environment, learning stepwise methods on how to adapt to various circumstances they may encounter.

Image Credit: thinkhubstudio/

The development of such systems is the goal of IntelliMan, a new Horizon Europe research project that has been coordinated by the University of Bologna.

The project has been financially supported by the European Commission with €4.5 million and involves nearly thirteen collaborators from six European countries brought collectively by a common vision.

The aim is to develop smart robots with advanced learning capabilities. This challenge aims to identify systems that could “help out” in hospitals, factories, the service sector, elderly care facilities, restaurants, and even in separate households.

With IntelliMan, we focus on the development of robots that can learn in a targeted, efficient and effective manner, while also ensuring high safety standards.

Gianluca Palli, Full Professor, Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering, University of Bologna

Palli added, “The robotic system we will design will learn the skills needed to interact with people, objects, and the surrounding environment. By using AI algorithms, it will autonomously understand the properties and features of objects in everyday life and in industrial environments."

In addition to coordinating and tracking the integration of technologies in the entire project activities, the University of Bologna will leverage its wide expertise in robotics and AI to develop inventive solutions in the field of prosthetics.

This is done in partnership with the INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) Prosthesis Centre.

Also, the University of Bologna will function on manipulation systems for industrial production in partnership with ELVEZ, a manufacturer of specialized products for the electrical, automotive, and mechanical engineering industries.

Robotic manipulators and robotic hands able to interact with their surroundings are one step away from becoming reality. Yet the key issue is to understand how these systems can develop new skills.

Gianluca Palli, Full Professor, Department of Electrical, Electronic, and Information Engineering, University of Bologna

Palli added, “And interact with objects regardless of their composition, size, and shape, using artificial intelligence techniques. By interacting with people and the environment, these systems will have to acquire new knowledge, i. e. be able to cope with unexpected tasks that have not been pre-programmed.”

Roberto Meattini—a member of the group of DEI researchers at the University of Bologna, included in the IntelliMan project, continues, “The next generation of robotic handling systems must be able to operate both autonomously and in cooperation with human users thanks to advanced human-robot interfaces.”

The possible fields of application are different and include logistics, industrial production, service robotics, and wearable devices like prostheses and exoskeletons. Scholars will concentrate on the difficulties of handling and locating deformable objects.

They will do so with attention to safety needs and the best plans to guarantee a “relationship of trust” present between humans and robots.

The European Union is assisting the IntelliMan project with € 4.5 million as part of the European framework program for research and innovation “Horizon Europe.”

The consortium has been interconnected by the University of Bologna and comprises 13 internationally recognized academic and industrial collaborators from six European countries (Germany, Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom).

Collectively, they integrate expertise in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, information and communication technologies, social sciences, economics, and humanities.


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