Course Content
Orientation, introduction to the course
1. Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)
2. Research Methods in Human-Robot Interaction
3. Smart Cities & HRI
The demand for city living is already high, and it appears that this trend will continue. According to the United Nations World Cities Report, by 2050, more than 70% of the world's population will be living and working in cities — one of many reports predicting that cities will play an important role in our future (UN-Habitat, 2022). Thus, as cities are growing in size and scope, it is shaped into complex urban landscape where things, data, and people interact with each other. Everything and everyone has become so connected that Wifi too often fails to meet digital needs, online orders don't arrive fast enough, traffic jams still clog the roads and environmental pollution still weighs on cities. New technologies, technical intelligence, and robots can contribute to the direction of finding solutions to ever-increasing problems and assist the evolution of the growing urban space.
Human-Robot Interaction
About Lesson


New application possibilities for autonomous mobile robots in human-inhabited environments have emerged as a result of promising technology breakthroughs in navigation, environmental sensing, obstacle avoidance, localization, and human-robot interaction. Current trends in service robotics research include automated transportation systems, door-to-door trash collection, street cleaning, object transportation, human direction and help, autonomous wheelchairs, shop trolleys, etc. “A robot that runs semi- or fully-autonomously to perform services valuable to the well-being of humans and equipment, excluding manufacturing operations,” is the definition of a service robot (Salvini et al., 2010).

Researchers, policy-makers, and technologists are showing increased interest in using robotics and autonomous systems to transform urban infrastructure and social life. This interest is most prominent in the literature on drones, autonomous vehicles, and other unmanned aerial vehicles. However, the potential application of social robotics in cities is much wider, including replacing or assisting humans in tasks such as policing and security, food and goods delivery, construction, maintenance and repair, healthcare, and personal assistance. With the development of more advanced artificial intelligence, machine learning, and socio-technical platforms that use robotics, the possibilities for a comprehensive robotic restructuring of the

city are emerging, which could augment and reorganize service infrastructures (While et al., 2021).

Researchers, technologists, and policy-makers are increasingly interested in utilizing advances in robotics and autonomous systems to reimagine and remake urban infrastructure and social life. Drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and autonomous vehicles (AVs) are at the forefront of this movement, with a burgeoning literature dedicated to exploring their potential. However, social robotics has much wider potential for application in cities, as robots are able to supplement or replace tasks currently carried out by humans, including in areas such as policing and security, delivery of goods and food, maintenance and repair, construction, personal assistance, and healthcare. This new generation of robotics is enabled by enhanced artificial intelligence and machine learning, intertwined with information gathering and socio-technical platforms that use robotics to augment and re-bundle service infrastructures. Proposals for utopian smart city projects based specifically around AI and robotics, such as the mega-city of Neom in Saudi Arabia or Toyota’s plans for a smaller-scale Woven City in Japan, reflect the potential of these technologies. In addition to these flagship projects, there is a growing need for existing cities to open up public spaces for new robotic experiments and applications. While there are opportunities for urban robots to enhance and augment urban life, there is also the potential for negative social impacts, including surveillance and social control, job loss, and new forms of infrastructural splintering. Urban applications of robotics may be cost-effective in the long term, but they are also expensive and risky to set up. As visions for the implementation of robotic urbanism proliferate, urgent research is needed to understand the possibilities, realities, and implications of this new phase of urban restructuring (While et al., 2021).


Salvini, P., Laschi, C., & Dario, P. (2010). Design for acceptability: improving robots’ coexistence in human society. International journal of social robotics, 2, 451-460.

While, A. H., Marvin, S., & Kovacic, M. (2021). Urban robotic experimentation: San Francisco, Tokyo and Dubai. Urban Studies, 58(4), 769-786.