The video presents the results from the Interactive Urban RObot project. The developed robot IURO navigates autonomously around the city-center of Munich and commences interaction with pedestrians. IURO approaches a person and asks for help to find the way to Marienplatz, a square in the Munich city center. People grasp a microphone from IURO's compartment and start chatting with the robot. IURO starts the conversation with a question for the counterparts mood. By emotionally adapting to the reported mood, he attains the person's full attention and successfully retrieves the information he is looking for. Besides verbal input, IURO also asks the interaction partner to point into the direction of the Marienplatz. Obviously, people enjoy the experience to interact with an autonomous mobile robot.


From the 7th to the 12th of October the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems was held in Vilamoura, in the southernmost region of Portugal.

This year IROS celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Some insights into IURO were presented in the papers

  • R. de Nijs, S. Ramos, G. Roig, X. Boix, L. van Gool, K. Kühnlenz , On-line Semantic Perception Using Uncertainty , Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) , 2012
  • B. Gonsior, S. Sosnowski, M. Buß, D. Wollherr, K. Kühnlenz , An Emotional Adaption Approach to increase Helpfulness towards a Robot , Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) , 2012 , p. 2429 - 2436 .

and the video
"Proactive Human Approach in Dynamic Environments" (Carton, D., Turnwald, A., Wollherr, D., Kühnlenz, K., Buss, M.)

Also, IURO caught some eyes of the press

Since interaction with humans is the main information source for the IURO robot, it needs to get close to a person before starting a conversation. In order to fulfil this task a trajectory planner is needed that allows the robot to approach a human. In this setting, predictability and readability of actions are aspects that need to be taken care of to let the approach behavior appear natural, unobtrusive and raise social acceptance. In the IURO project state of the art optimization methods for trajectory generation and results from user studies are combined to develop a motion planning algorithm that enables a robot to approach walking and standing persons in a dynamic urban environment incorporating social constraints.

Nicole Mirnig, research fellow at the HCI Unit of the ICT&S Center, went to London to present the EU project IURO at Robotville – a European Robot Festival that took place at the British Science Museum from December 1st to 4th. The festival was aimed at showing the manifold research on robotics in Europe and it was organized by EUNIC London in partnership with the European Commission-funded Cognitive Systems and Robotics Programme and the European Commission Representation in the UK. A total of 23 different projects were shown at the exhibition and the visitors had the unique chance of getting hands-on experiences.

Together with the ICT&S Center’s project partners from KTH Stockholm she presented the robot head Furhat, which is part of the IURO project and is aimed at the actual speech part of the IURO robot (e.g. speech recognition, speech output, dialog manager).

Furhat tried to actively engage the visitors of the exhibition in a conversation by asking questions and inviting people to ask questions in turn. After their interaction with Furhat, the visitors of the festival were asked to fill in a questionnaire on their impression of the robot. The response rate was great and the visitors were very interested and willing to share their opinion.

The festival experienced a huge media coverage: amongst others the  BBCNew Scientist, and Gizmag reported on the 4-days event.