We welcome our new W3 Professor, Dr Roberto Calandra, to the CeTI Cluster of Excellence. From March 2023 he will start his professorship at the new Chair of Explainable Artificial Intelligence at TU Dresden.

• What motivated you to join the CeTI Cluster of Excellence?

One of the lines of research I have been working in the last 5 years is how to provide robots with the sense of touch. This topic was very well aligned with the concept of tactile internet and the goals of CeTI, so joining seemed a very natural choice and an excellent way to find new collaborators.

• What is your research interest?

My main research interest is at the convergence between Machine Learning and Robotics with the ultimate goal of making robots (and other artificial agents) more intelligent and useful in our society.

• What do you think is the impact of your research on society?

Since my research is interdisciplinary in nature, there are several ways that my research can impact society. From a machine learning point of view, the algorithms that I develop for decision making can — and have — been applied to real-world problems, such as optimization. From a robotic point of view, I hope that the capability that we are providing to our robots of better understanding and adapting to the world around them will result in robots that are more capable and useful in real-world applications, such as medical and agricultural robotics.

• As a researcher, what questions did you have as a child that you were finally able to answer?

As a child, I loved reading Asimov’s books about robots and ask myself if we will ever have such amazing machines in our life. Today, I still ask myself when we will have such amazing machines in our life, but at least I am more aware of the challenges that still need to be overcome – and I can actively work to make it happen.