“Having robots working without human direction, for several days or weeks or years, is something we are worried about,” Pereira said. “The problem is that for a robot working long-term, say days at a time, the environment will change. Over years, the environment will change even more. In the forest, you will have plants and trees growing, seasonal changes, sometimes snow, sometimes sunshine, sometimes rain. And indoors, furniture gets moved around, people will be moving around, even other robots will present obstacles.
If a robot recognizes a chair and table, it will know it’s in the dining room, for example. If that changes, the robot will have a rough time localizing itself and figuring that out.