Robotics, Cognition, Intelligence
(Robotik und kognitive Systeme-robotics and cognitive systems)
We are currently observing a strong trend towards the convergence of three areas of science and engineering that have different origins and have traditionally been taught, more or less, as different subjects:
- Robotics was considered to be the art of designing computer programmable fixed actuators of different shapes, sizes and physical power, primarily used for material and parts handling;
- Computer Vision and Sensor Fusion have emerged as applicable engineering methodologies;
- Cognitive Sciences have only very recently been discovered as a potentially helpful, basic tool for designing complex sensor-actuator systems involving interaction with the environment and/or human partners.
As we are moving towards increasingly complex technical systems that combine mobility with perception, reasoning, and action generation, engineers will need a thorough interdisciplinary understanding of the basics of all these fields, along with a good understanding of their interrelation and their application. In other words: future engineering will largely be dominated by designing very complex perception-action systems featuring a variety of different sensors, interacting reasoning modules and actuators, resulting in complex cognitive skills and multimodal interaction capabilities. The challenge will be to design these systems in such a way that they can handle tasks in a flexible way, adapt to user’s needs, are affordable and reasonably easy to instruct.
It is the purpose of this Master’s course on “Robotics, Cognition, Intelligence” to not only provide students with the necessary basic knowledge of all the underlying scientific areas, but also to train them in the practical design of such systems using a variety of real technical platforms (including every different kind of robot) available at TUM.
Moreover, there is a large “cultural” gap between engineering disciplines and cognitive sciences, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for scientists in these areas to efficiently communicate with one another. It is even more difficult to enable them to work together in an effective way. It is therefore an additional goal of this Master’s course to encourage students to acquire a basic understanding of the working principles of each of the disciplines. Although most of the courses are oriented towards engineering principles, this course also includes modules dealing with topics from neuroscience and cognitive science.
Taken together, the profile of this course will not only give students a competitive advantage in the labor market in a fast-growing field; it will also provide an excellent education as a sound foundation for further studies, e.g. PhD programs at TUM or elsewhere.
Students must have completed their basic university education (they must have obtained a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in electrical engineering, physics or computer science for example), but highly-motivated students with different backgrounds who want to broaden their perspective by studying this challenging field are also eligible and welcome.