Robots Try To Take Direction, Ignore Maps. Disaster Ahead

Illustration for article titled Robots Try To Take Direction, Ignore Maps. Disaster Ahead

GPS and online maps are a thing of the past, according to German scientists. The future, it seems, is a robot that will stop people and ask them for directions. Everything we know is wrong!


The seemingly strange invention, from the Technical University of Munich, has a purpose beyond contrariness; according to the University of Oxford's roboticist, Paul Newman, it's the next step in robot evolution:

It's absolutely the way to go... Robots use mathematics internally to navigate, but that's not the way you want them to relate to people cohabiting with a machine. If there's a building on fire you don't want to give a fireman a robot-drawn map or a mathematical model, you want to say: 'down the corridor, third door on right'.


Of course, if there's a building on fire, you might want the robot to move slightly faster than he already does. In a recent test, it took the Advanced City Explorer five hours and conversations with 38 people to find a destination 1.5 kilometers away from its starting point.

Lost robot crosses city by asking directions [New Scientist]

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crashedpc /sarcasm

Must not be a guy robot. Guy robots would rather just charge on ahead blindly, right past the fire, instead of asking for directions.