Robots are already in wide use in industrial settings where the interactions with people are well structured and stable. Interactions with robots in home settings are notoriously more difficult. The context of interactions changes over time, depending on the people present, the time of day, the event going on, etc. In order to cope with all these factors creating uncertainty and ambiguity people use practices, norms, conventions, etc. to normalize and package certain interactions into standard types of actions performed in order by the parties involved. E.g. getting coffee.

Within this project we will explore how the idea of social practices to regulate interactions and create expectations in the parties involved can be used to guide robots in their interactions with people. We will explore a simple scenario with a Pepper robot to explore all practical obstacles when using these concepts in robotics.


Three MSc thesis reports

demo software

documented example on the AI4EU platform


Project Partners:

  • Umeå University (UMU), Frank Dignum
  • Örebro University (ORU), Alessandro Safiotti

Primary Contact: Frank Dignum, Umeå University

Main results of micro project:

There is a first prototype of the use of social practices in the interaction between a robot and humans. It is shown that following a social practice can help planning for the interaction. It can also be used to support recovery from deviations of the expected interaction by the human. There is a first representation of social practices in a data structure that is usable by the robot planner. A first version of a planner using the social practice information and an execution process that both executes the plan and monitors the progress of the interaction and adapts or re-plans the robots actions when necessary.

Contribution to the objectives of HumaneAI-net WPs

The project shows how social practices can be used to guide human-robot interactions. This provides a social context that can be helpful to adapt the actions of the robot to both the situation and the user. The project was a very first attempt to create a practical implementation and thus can only be seen as a basis on which further work can be done to really take advantage of all aspects of social practices.

Tangible outputs

  • Other: Ai Planning with Social Practices for the Pepper robot. – Frank Dignum