Hoboken’s Stevens Institute works to advance future of artificial intelligence

Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken is developing new and better AI technology and using it to create self-propelled robots.

Matt Trapani

Aug 8, 2023, 11:33 PM

Updated 320 days ago

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The future of artificial intelligence is being developed in New Jersey.
Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken is developing new and better AI technology and using it to create self-propelled robots.
“I think robots have an opportunity to be kind of the physical embodiment of AI,” says Dr. Brendan Englot, director of the Stevens Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
Englot says that the future is practically knocking at the institute’s door.
“We’re putting together systems that never worked together before. The vehicle, the arm…There’s no blueprint for how to do it successfully,” he says.
The institute is leading the way in using AI for practical purposes, like a small roving robot that Englot developed for the power company Con Edison.
“Artificial intelligence can be very helpful, allowing the robot to kind of adapt to new situations it hasn’t seen before,” he says. “If we can have autonomous systems like this one patrolling, collecting diagnostic measurements, checking for anomalies, we’ll be able to catch them, before there are any safety issues.”
The robot utilized 16 laser beams which allow it to map the room and travel around power stations autonomously.
“The robot also has a sensor on its wrist so it can see what’s directly in front of the arm…It’s aware of all the obstacles around it, tries to take an efficient route to get to the next breaker panel,” Englot says. Then it moves back, scans the barcode again and moves on to its next measurement.”
The robot, however, cannot go up or down stairs.
“Assuming we’re on flat ground, it can avoid collision, it can do path planning, it can basically drive to any location you want it to,” Englot says.
Stevens also is developing AI systems for autonomous robots flying in the air.
“If we want our robot to do something novel, challenging, solve a problem that’s never been solved before, we need to find ways that that robot can learn how to do it,” Englot says.
Stevens leaders predict the AI revolution will continue – from robots to self-driving cars - using programs like Chat GPT to interface with humans.
“We might be able to give this robot instructions in plain English. Explain to it what we want to do,” Englot says.
But some are worried about the future of AI. Pope Francis on Tuesday warned that artificial intelligence is “endowed with disruptive possibilities.” The Pope will deliver a homily titled “Artificial Intelligence and Peace,” for World Peace Day on Sept. 21.


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