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Ronald C Arkin

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Nationality  American
Fields  Robotics

Role  Roboticist
Name  Ronald Arkin
Ronald C. Arkin
Institutions  Georgia Institute of Technology
Alma mater  University of Massachusetts Amherst Stevens Institute of Technology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Books  Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots, Behavior-based Robotics
Education  University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of Michigan
Nominations  Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year

Residence  United States of America
Doctoral advisor  Edward M. Riseman

Lethal autonomous robots and the plight of the noncombatant ronald c arkin

Ronald Craig Arkin (born 1949) is an American roboticist and roboethicist, and a Regents' Professor in the School of Interactive Computing, College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is known for the motor schema technique in robot navigation and for his book Behavior-Based Robotics.



Ronald Arkin received a B.S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1971 and an M.S. from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1977. He was a faculty member of Hawthorne College in Antrim, New Hampshire from 1977 to 1989, serving as the Computer Science Depart Chair from 1986 to 1989. In 1985, he joined the Laboratory for Perceptual Robotics and VISIONS groups at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and received a Ph.D. in 1987. His doctoral thesis Towards Cosmopolitan Robots: Intelligent Navigation in Extended Man-Made Environments was supervised by Edward M. Riseman.


Shortly after receiving his Ph.D., Ronald Arkin joined the School of Information and Computer Science (now College of Computing) at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founded the Mobile Robot Laboratory. He became a Regents' Professor in 2002 and was the first person to hold such honor in the College of Computing's history. From August, 1997 to August, 1998, Arkin was a STINT Visiting Professor at the Centre for Autonomous Systems, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He served as the Sabbatical Chair for the Sony Intelligence Dynamics Laboratory, Tokyo, Japan, from June, 2005 to October, 2005, and was also a member of the Laboratory for analysis and architecture of systems at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Toulouse, France.

In 2006, the United States Department of Defense contracted Arkin to conduct a study to determine if military robots could be made to operate ethically. The goal is to create a robot with an "artificial conscience" such that, for example, it might refrain from firing weaponry when children were detected, or to even understand the laws of war and apply them in battle. “My intention in designing this is that robots will make less mistakes—hopefully far less mistakes—than humans do in the battlefield,” Arkin says.


  • Mobile robots and unmanned aerial vehicles
  • Behavior-based reactive control
  • Action-oriented perception
  • Hybrid deliberative/reactive software architectures
  • Robot survivability
  • Multiagent robotic systems
  • Biorobotics
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Roboethics
  • Learning in autonomous systems.
  • Students

  • Robin Murphy (Summer, 1992). Thesis: An Architecture for Intelligent Sensor Fusion. Founder of rescue robot and currently a professor at the Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.
  • Erika Rogers (Fall, 1992). Thesis: Visual Interaction: A Link Between Perception and Problem-Solving. Currently a professor at the California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, California.
  • Douglas MacKenzie (Spring 1997). Thesis: A Design Methodology for the Configuration of Behavior-based Mobile Robots. President and Founder of Mobile Intelligence Co.
  • Tucker Balch (Fall, 1998). Thesis: Behavioral Diversity in Learning Robot Teams. Currently an Associate Professor at the College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Khaled Ali (Spring, 1999). Thesis: Multiagent Robotics: Relating Systems to Tasks. Currently a Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • Alexander Stoytchev (Summer, 2007). Thesis: Robot Tool Behavior: A Developmental Approach to Autonomous Tool Use. Currently an Assistant Professor at the Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
  • Eric Martinson (Fall 2007). Thesis: Acoustical Awareness for Intelligent Robotic Action.
  • Alan Wagner (Fall 2010). Thesis: The Role of Trust and Relationships in Human-Robot Social Interaction. Currently a Research Scientist II at Georgia Tech Research Institute working in the ATAS Lab
  • Zsolt Kira (Spring 2010). Thesis: Communication and Alignment of Grounded Symbolic Knowledge Among Heterogeneous Robots. Currently a Research Scientist II at Georgia Tech Research Institute working in the ATAS Lab
  • Books

  • Arkin, R. C. (1998). Behavior-Based Robotics. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-01165-4. 
  • Arkin, R. C. (1987). Towards Cosmopolitan Robots: Intelligent Navigation in Extended Man-made Environments. University of Massachusetts Amherst. 
  • Papers

  • Arkin, R. C. (1989). "Motor schema-based mobile robot navigation". The International Journal of Robotics Research. 8 (4): 92–112. doi:10.1177/027836498900800406. 
  • Balch, T.; Arkin, R. C. (1998). "Behavior-based formation control for multirobot teams". IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. 14 (6): 926–939. doi:10.1109/70.736776. 
  • Balch, T.; Arkin, R. C. (1994). "Communication in reactive multiagent robotic systems". Autonomous Robots. 1 (1): 27–52. doi:10.1007/BF00735341. 
  • References

    Ronald C. Arkin Wikipedia