SCS to collaborate with Sony on AI, robotics research

Credit: Anna Boyle/Art Editor Credit: Anna Boyle/Art Editor

Electronics manufacturer Sony is partnering with Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science (SCS) to advance research in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. According to an April 18 press release, the research partnership will focus on designing robots specifically to carry out food service industry tasks, like preparing and serving food.

Why food? The ultimate goal isn't to replace chefs and servers with robots but to push the boundaries of what robotics can accomplish.

"Making and serving food is an immense challenge for automation, so we’re excited about the types of machines and software that might emerge as we jointly explore a variety of approaches and solutions,” said Dean of SCS Andrew Moore. “Both Sony and Carnegie Mellon University aim high, so we are confident this research will produce technologies that impact robotics across a broad number of applications.”

Software and hardware that can move around kitchens and handle ingredients will be able to navigate other kinds of small, busy spaces and work with any delicate materials, even those with irregular shapes. These skills could be applicable in other settings, including homes and offices as well as manufacturing.

The partnership will primarily be housed at SCS and led by Carnegie Mellon faculty. The Sony half will be directed by Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, who is the CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories.

“This project has the potential to make the vast possibilities of AI and robotics more familiar and accessible to the general public,” Kitano said. "Additionally, it could also assist those for whom daily tasks, such as food preparation, are challenging. I am very excited to be working with the talented scientists at Carnegie Mellon University to make this vision a reality.”