Robot Partners
Collaborative Perceptual Robotic Systems

The Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IRIS)

From September 2005 our regular meeting time will be 1130am on Thursdays in room 146. Our topic!

Jose was the overwhelming winner of the 5th AAAI Hors D'Oeuvres competition. Our crack team, led by Pantelis Elinas, brought back the honours. The team consisted of:

AAAI Hors d'Oeuvres Competition

For more pictures, video clips and reportage about Jose's win see More about Jose, the robot waiter

Why is our robot called Jose? He's named after Jose Maria Narvaez, a Spanish marine pilot (b. 1768 Cadiz, Spain, d. 1840 Guadalajara, Mexico). He was the first European to explore Georgia Strait. Commanding the Santa Saturnina in 1791, he navigated as far as present-day Comox and named Texada Island. His chart, which included surveys of Clayoquot and Barkley Sounds and is one of the most important early charts of the BC coast, is in the Museo Naval in Madrid. He had earlier (1788) sailed to Alaska with Estaban Jose Martinez. Exploring Esperanza Inlet in the captured North West America, he was present in Friendly Cove during the Nootka Sound controversy.

The Laboratory for Computational Intelligence is home to several projects funded by IRIS, one of several Canadian Federal Networks of Centres of Excellence. Funding for IRIS Phase 3 was announced in March 1998, continuing for seven years.

Collaborative Perceptual Visual Robotic Systems

The Robot Partners project is part of the Theme of Modelling and Virtual Reality in the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems. The project is headed by James Little, with David Lowe, Alan Mackworth, and Dinesh Pai, all of UBC Computer Science, together with James Clark of McGill. The Robot Partners project is a descendant of the Spinoza project which was aimed at developing autonomous perceptual robots that can navigate and plan their actions in uncertain environments.

The project will develop a new approach to the specification, design and implementation of perceptual robotic systems that act in collaboration with other agents. A robotic system consists of a robot and its environment where the environment may consist of physical objects, processes, and other agents, either people or robots. In a collaborative robotic system, a robot works to achieve common goals with at least one other agent. Collaboration requires shared goals, communication about the state of local internal and external environments, and coordinated action.

The project will develop intelligent tools, including teleoperation based on both specific and generic local models acquired online during teleoperation; synthesis of multi-robot distributed controllers; real-time systems for vision, with multiple coordinated sensors; a programming system for control with event-based interaction with perception; models of collaboration; and means for human visual communication with robots.

Communication amongst robots and between robots and humans is central to collaboration. Remote teleoperation, which requires transmission of images in one direction, and control commands in the other, is an important component of our research thrust.

Principal Investigators



Former Students

Industrial Partners

Affiliated Groups


Our Project Song

Visit LCI labs, and learn of our vision
To impart rhyme and reason; a most logical mission.
Jose you will see, and Eric the Red
Whirling and twirling on wee rubber tread
Mapping a floor plan in the blink of three eyes;
What clever devices did Point Grey devise.
Trinocular stereo determines the depth
So the robot can wander straight, right, and left
Without hitting the wall, 'cause its CPU knows
Where everyone is so it stays off their toes,
As it runs around clicking, exploring the rooms,
Like its siblings may do on Mars or on moons.
Our robots, alas, don't yell "Danger, Will Robinson";
But, will we have fun?  Oh yes, we'll have some!
Composed by Glendon Holst