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Towards Human-Chatbot Interaction: A Virtual Assistant for the Ramp-up Process

Title: Towards Human-Chatbot Interaction: A Virtual Assistant for the Ramp-up Process
Authors: Melanie Zimmer (Intelligent Automation Centre, Loughborough University); Ali Al-Yacoub (Intelligent Automation Centre, Loughborough University); Pedro Ferreira (Intelligent Automation Centre, Loughborough University); Niels Lohse (Intelligent Automation Centre, Loughborough University);
Year: 2020
Citation: Zimmer, M., Al-Yacoub, A., Ferreira, P., Lohse, N., (2020). Towards Human-Chatbot Interaction: A Virtual Assistant for the Ramp-up Process. UKRAS20 Conference: “Robots into the real world” Proceedings, 108-110.


Nowadays, we are surrounded by virtual assistants in everyday life. But one domain that is assumed to massively benefit from virtual assistants, is manufacturing. In particular, where activities are reliant on human expertise and knowledge, a virtual assistant could help support the human. The vision of this work is inspired by the need for bringing an assembly system more rapidly to an operational state. To achieve this vision, a decision-support framework that aims to better integrate the human operator into the ramp-up activity is proposed. As part of this framework, natural language processing tools are applied to allow the development of a virtual assistant for the ramp-up process. This paper provides an overview of the current work in progress, which is part of a PhD research undertaken at the Intelligent Automation Centre at Loughborough University. It outlines the initial efforts and future steps that have been completed and are planned.

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UKRAS20: Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Prof Ingmar Posner

University of Oxford

Ingmar leads the Applied Artificial Intelligence Lab at Oxford University. His goal is to enable robots to robustly and effectively operate in complex, real-world environments. His research is guided by a vision to create machines which constantly improve through experience. 

Dr Fumiya Iida

University of Cambridge

Fumiya Iida is a university reader at the University of Cambridge since 2018, where he leads the Bio-Inspired Robotics Lab. His research interests include biologically inspired robotics, embodied artificial intelligence, and biomechanics, where he was involved in a number of research projects related to dynamic legged locomotion, navigation of autonomous robots, and human-machine interactions.

Dr Adam Stokes

University of Edinburgh

Dr Stokes is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems at The University of Edinburgh. He is Director of the Soft Systems Group, an interdisciplinary research laboratory. Dr Stokes’s research interests include: robotics, physical chemistry, electrical engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, optics, proteomics, and cell biology.


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