The goal of the initiative is to advance robotics research at BGU in the domains of agricultural, biological and cognitive robotics via multidisciplinary R&D teams. Supported and funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the mission of this initiative is to establish a sustainable ABC Robotics Research Center focusing on interdisciplinary research that integrates robotics with agricultural, biological and cognitive sciences to facilitate innovative designs and sophisticated algorithms for a new generation of smart devices that can "think for themselves" and intelligently cooperate with humans.
With the mission stated as above, the ABC Robotics Initiative is driven by a vision and a commitment for collaboration and interdisciplinary research. The goal is to focus on multidisciplinary, application-oriented research and the development of robotics systems in the areas of medical, service, industrial and agricultural robotics. The initiative will thus involve the formation of new multidisciplinary research groups of researchers from different faculties and departments, recruitment of new faculty and research students to robotics research, enhancement of international collaboration with leading research groups, and recruitment of additional research funds via competitive grants.
The agricultural, biological and cognitive robots developed in the framework of the ABC Robotics Initiative will be endowed with “intelligent" behavior inspired by biological models and human behavior. The robots will be able to continuously adapt anew, will be capable of performing under unforeseen and changing working conditions, and will have capacities well beyond those of current autonomous robotic systems.
Agricultural Robots – Specific applications include targeted spraying and selected harvesting of crops. Research focuses on developing “intelligent" platforms for the agro-management of high-value crops and on innovative human-robot collaborative models and systems.
Biological Robots – Research is dedicated to revealing the secrets of perception, cognition and action in biological systems for application in robotic systems.
Cognitive Robots – Research focuses on endowing robots with higher-level cognitive capabilities that allow for intelligent perception, reasoning, decision making, manipulation, collaborative functioning, and learning. This robotics research is underpinned by computational neuroscience, psychological, physiological and phenomenological approaches.
The initiative will be implemented via several mechanisms:
Research Development Projects (RDPs)
Research development projects will be designed so as to ensure the implementation of cooperative, multidisciplinary efforts of researchers focused on R&D in agricultural, biological or cognitive robotics addressing real-world problems. Criteria for selecting projects will include: innovation, multidisciplinary collaboration between faculty members, leverage via external funding sources, and international collaboration. The projects that are selected will be those that are built on wide cooperation between faculty and students across multiple disciplines in pursuit of real-world goals while ensuring leveraging via other funding sources. Call for RDPds
The Helmsley Research Fellow Program
This program will provide special fellowships to outstanding graduate and postdoctoral researchers in the field of robotics. Focus will be placed on recruiting students internationally from leading robotic programs the world over.
Calls for Phd and postdoctorate students
ABC Robotics Monthly Seminar