Delft Haptics Lab

Delft University of Technology

Real-world experiments for symbiotic driving

In the period of October-December 2019, our Symbiotic Driving team performed unique experiments in Japan, facilitated through our collaboration with Nissan Motor Company.

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Symbiotic Driving

The Delft Haptics Lab is investigating Symbiotic Driving: a driver-centered alternative to the conventional 'trading of control' found in the automotive and aviation industry. With symbiotic driving, we will enable a dynamic, mutually adaptive relationship with intelligent vehicles.

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David gives keynote at HFES conference 2019

David was invited to give the keynote on the HFES 2019 conference in Nantes

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Delft Haptics Lab (2009-2022)

"The future of control is partnership, co-control; the creator must share control with his creations." Kevin Kelly ("Out of Control", 1994)

What is this page about?
This page shows the cumulative activities of members of the Delft Haptics Lab, founded by David Abbink as a postdoc in 2009. It now acts also as a trackrecord of his disciplinary research in haptics and human-robot interaction. The lab formed the basis for the Human-Robot Interaction group in the Department of Cognitive Robotics, at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The lab therefore ended with its last disciplinary PhD project, with David refocussing his efforts around shaping the future of work, through establishing transdisciplinary research and innovation centre FRAIM in 2022.

The vision of the Delft Haptics Lab
This was how we described our vision and mission when the lab was active.

We envision a future where robots (machines with some intelligence and autonomy) will not replace or threaten us, but where we will cooperate with them, and where human experience and our quality of life will be enhanced. This requires alignment of robot behavior with human behavior, and bi-directional communication and mutual learning between humans and robots. The very human ability to physically interact with (and quickly adapt to) complex environments has been neglected in many human-robot interfaces, and may serve as a useful way to promote alignment and bi-directional communication. We therefore aim to engineer novel haptic interaction as a basis for bi-directional communication, adaptation and learning. Sharing control through haptics is our core approach to engineer such interfaces.

Our mission is to understand how humans use forces when performing dynamic control tasks, and use that knowledge to help improve physical interaction with machines. Our goal toward this mission, is to conduct research and provide education in the area of haptic and human-robot interaction, on fundamental topics as well as over a wide range of practical applications (driving, flying, remote nuclear maintenance, sub-sea mining, robotic surgery, lifting aids). Through close collaboration with companies we strive to accelerate the development of our fundamental research to market applications. Additionally, with our many media and outreach activities we aim to stimulate societal discussion about human-robot interaction – and show the importance of research and education in these topics.

To enable its activities, the Delft Haptics Lab generated its own funding through collaborations with (inter)national companies such as Nissan, Boeing and Renault, as well as through highly competitive research grants from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO-TTW), including personal grants (VENI, VIDI). The lab was headed by professor David A. Abbink, and its members have received multiple awards for education and research.

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