Designing technology for people, requires that people are – at all times – either fully in control of the technology or that they can reply on the benevolent intentions and the security of autonomous systems that they cannot control. Therefore, the idea is to build trust into (autonomous) robotic systems.

From September 2018 TU Wien has established an interdisciplinary Doctoral College (DC) on “Trust in Robots – Trusting Robots” to foster cutting-edge research in robotics and AI at the TU Wien. The main objective of the DC is to comprehensively analyse “trust” in the context of robot technology from various perspectives including but not limited to social sciences and economics, computer science and mathematics, electrical and mechanical engineering, and architecture.

The fundamental question concerns how people can develop an appropriately trusting relationship with autonomous machines. When is trust in an autonomous system appropriate? When should we trust a care robot to make the right decisions? When would it be wise not to trust? And even if we initially trusted a robot, which experiences would and should change our trust in it?

Responsible robotics begins in the research and development phase. Ethical concerns raised in scientific and public debates regarding societal values such as safety, security, well-being, and privacy, deserve attention from the beginning of robotics-related projects.

Schematic representation of the topics of the TrustRobot project, the exact content of the graphic is built in text form below it

Different topics of the TrustRobots project

The project is concerned with several topics, which are interconnected, and contribute to the fundamental technical research as well the fundamental application research:

  • Topic 1: Social Agency
  • Topic 2: Human-Robot (HR) Joint Attention
  • Topic 3: Body Language
  • Topic 4: Scene Understanding
  • Topic 5: Safe Human Robot Interaction
  • Topic 6: Trust in Robot Decision Making
  • Topic 7: Division of Labor
  • Topic 8: Space as Dimension of Trust
  • Topic 9: Safety and Trust in Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC)
  • Topic 10: Robot Anthromorphism

The academic disciplines that are addressed in the topics are also diverse:

  • Electrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • Economics
  • Labor Science
  • Architecture
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy of Science & Ethics

Within the framework of the project, the individual needs as well as the societal implications are taken into account. 

Learn more about the college