Welcome to the Robot Learning Laboratory!

Our research is driven by the vision that machine learning will soon play a pervasive role in robotics, and in similar application domains of embedded systems. For robots to operate robustly in complex and dynamic environments, they must be able to adapt to changes therein, and continuously improve their performance based on experience. Learning plays also an increasingly important role in the design of such systems, as training, instruction, and trial-and-error learning are often superior to conventional programming.

To turn this vision into reality, we pursue research to find new, more effective ways to make robots learn from experience, and to make machine learning succeed in robotics and beyond. Our research ranges from theoretical considerations and basic algorithmic design to practical implementations and demonstrations. The lab has produced robots as visible as Rhino and Minerva, two mobile robots that went into museums as tour-guides; Xavier, arguably the first autonomous mobile robot on the Web; and Jeeves, which won first place award at the 1996 AAAI mobile robot competition. Our latest robots are LittleJohn and Florence. Some of these robots were developed in collaboration with the University of Bonn, Germany.

In addition, the Robot Learning Laboratory has a strong commitment to scholarly work and scientific excellence. In recent years, it has produced several dozen publications, many of which appeared as books, in scientific journals, and at conferences. Members of our labs received best paper awards at various conferences, most recently AAAI-98, KI-98 (in Germany), and IROS-98.

The Robot Learning Lab is financially supported by Financial support by DARPA and NSF, which is gratefully acknowledged.

This Web site is intended to help you find out what's going on in our Lab. Our highly recommended project page contains a collection of brief, 2-page summaries of ongoing research projects. More detail can be found at our publications page, form which you can down-load many of our publications. Of course, you can also just enjoy pictures of our robots at our robots page.

We very much hope you find something useful here. Please do not hesitate to contact any of the Lab's members if you would like to obtain further information.

Sebastian Thrun, November 1998.