May 29, 2017 0309 GMT
CoRIS Institute, short for Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems, would conduct research in robotics and artificial intelligence, as well as machine learning, vision, sensors, devices and new materials, and explore public policy and ethical questions surrounding the deployment of robots and intelligent systems, news.xinhuanet.com reported.
Institute director Kagan Tumer said, “The new institute, with 25 researchers in robotics and artificial intelligence, would enable research in oceanography, forestry, agricultural science and other fields, as well as identify and facilitate possible partnerships with companies to bring algorithms, software, hardware and integrated systems into everyday use.”
Collaborators include more than 40 other researchers from across OSU who are looking to apply robotics and AI concepts to their own work.
The college offers a top-tier artificial intelligence program and one of the five doctorate-granting robotics programs in the US.
The two programs received more than 500 student applications for the 40 openings available in fall term 2016.
Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering, said, "The CoRIS Institute will cement Oregon State's position as a national leader in robotics and artificial intelligence.
"It will investigate the promise and the risks of robotics in the real world today, tomorrow and well into the future and help us plot a course through uncharted territory."
Tumer acknowledged that early on in the field of robotics, a robot was typically a big mechanical device on a factory floor, caged away, unpredictable and dangerous, not designed to be interacting with humans in a way that was natural to them.
The moment a robot exits a lab and enters the everyday world, he noted, the complicated issue of human-robot interaction is at play in full force.
Tumer added, "There are technical issues to putting robots in homes and also ethical issues.
“For example, what are the privacy issues of having a robot in your home 24-7? What is the emotional impact of interacting with that robot daily? It's fair to say our emphasis on societal impact is one of the unique aspects of our institute."