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Robot Survey 2019

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are cruising around your hometown this very minute and cities are planning as if they will be a daily fixture in the near future. While seemingly inevitable, the question of how AVs and other urban robotics become situated in cities is up for grabs. Or, more precisely, yet to be designed.

Outside of corporate R&D labs the details of these robots (including AVs) are often glossed over in favor of trumped up claims of their eventual benefits. As a research group at the University of Michigan's Taubman College we wanted to know: what varieties exist? How big are they? How fast do they move? What do they do? Where do they come from?

We undertook a survey of the diversity of robotic ‘species’ in 2019 and have captured our findings in this free pamphlet. Though it is not exhaustive, we have sought to represent the robotic zeitgeist by documenting 83 different devices. By providing measured drawings and basic details of each robot, our intention is to pull these much-hyped technologies back ‘down to earth’ where we can do the work of imagining their impacts on people and cities.

This research is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Faculty Name: 
Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning