Commercially available social robots are finally here. Previously accessible only to companies or wealthy individuals, affordable, mass-produced autonomous robot companions are poised to take the global market by storm in 2018.

It’s an exciting time for social roboticists, as some of the theories and techniques developed and tested for so long under controlled conditions are finally released to the general public. However, these available social robots differ greatly from those currently used in labs and field studies, due to the requirements of cost, reliability, variability in environment, and the need to provide immediate value as products or services.

This workshop at HRI 2018 in Chicago focuses on the state of social robots in the market today—the lessons learned from mass-producing and distributing actual products, and the cutting-edge research that could be brought to bear on the many issues faced. Through presentations, panels, and hands-on interactions, participants from both academia and industry will be  encouraged to give one another feedback on what is working and what is not, and set goals for the near future.


Photo credits: Sony Aibo from The Family Dog by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper for the New York Times, Pepper by AFP-Jiji, and Paro by Motonari Tagawa for the Toronto Star.