Sidewalk robots could shovel snow or act as crossing guards | News World

A new study finds that when roboticists and people with disabilities collaborate on robot designs, interesting ideas emerge that could make existing robots more accessible and inspire new uses.

In their research, Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science faculty members Sarah Fox and Nikolas Martelaro highlight potential issues sidewalk robots encounter during deployment and propose solutions to mitigate them before the robots hit the streets.

Sidewalk delivery robots have experienced a recent boom in popularity, especially during the pandemic. But their proliferation comes with conflict, as they typically compete with pedestrians for limited sidewalk space. For people with mobility disabilities, a robot on the sidewalk can eliminate the only safe path.

The new research by Fox and Martelaro, both assistant professors in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon, draws on discussions they facilitated between roboticists and people with mobility disabilities to determine the most…


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