by the guest editors Serena Ivaldi (Inria) and Maria Pateraki (ICS-FORTH)
This special theme addresses the state of the art of human-robot interaction (HRI), discussing the current challenges faced by the research community for integrating both physical and social interaction skills into current and future collaborative robots.
Recent years have seen a proliferation of applications for robots interacting physically with humans in manufacturing and industry, from bimanual cooperation in assembly with cobots (i.e., industrial manipulators for collaboration) to physical assistance with exoskeletons. These applications have driven research in many fundamental topics for collaboration, such as shared task allocation, synchronisation and coordination, control of contacts and physical interaction, role estimation and adaptive role allocation during collaboration, learning by demonstrations, safe control, etc. All the developments in these areas contribute to the success of the “Industry 4.0”, whose elite platforms are essentially cobots and exoskeletons.