Talk: Michael Milford, Navigation, Neuroscience and Neural Networks: A Quest to Understand Intelligence and Build Better Technology for Robots and Autonomous Vehicles

Date and Time: Friday, September 18, 2020 at 1300 AEST

Speaker: Michael Milford, Queensland University of Technology (QUT)

Title: Navigation, Neuroscience and Neural Networks: A Quest to Understand Intelligence and Build Better Technology for Robots and Autonomous Vehicles

Abstract: The goal of my research is to understand the fundamental nature of intelligence, so that we can both shed light on how the brain functions, and create intelligent, autonomous systems that transform society. We draw inspiration from the amazing natural world including animal species like rats, insects, primates and humans, combined with robots, algorithms, innovative sensing modalities, computational neuroscience and artificial neural networks of all types. I’ll summarize a roboticist’s perspective on the neuroscience underlying one of the most well understood aspects of intelligence – spatial intelligence and perception – and describe how we have adapted this knowledge to create landmark robotics advances including RatSLAM’s mapping of an entire suburb using only webcam, persistent long term robot navigation autonomy trials and robust anytime localization. Finally I’ll highlight how we are translating fundamental transdisciplinary science into industrial applications, working with major multinational companies in domains including autonomous vehicles and automated hazard detection.

Bio: I conduct interdisciplinary research at the boundary between robotics, neuroscience and computer vision and am a multi-award winning educational entrepreneur. My research models the neural mechanisms in the brain underlying tasks like navigation and perception to develop new technologies in challenging application domains such as all-weather, anytime positioning for autonomous vehicles. I am also passionate about engaging and educating all sectors of society around new opportunities and impacts from technology including robotics, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence, and am one of the most in demand experts in Australia. I currently hold the positions of Deputy Director of the QUT Centre for Robotics, Professor at the Queensland University of Technology, Microsoft Research Faculty Fellow and Chief Investigator at the Australian Centre for Robotic Vision.

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