Personal robots are used in domestic and public environments to perform interaction tasks in support and collaboration with people. They are already available on the market at reasonable costs, making their large-scale adoption feasible in principle. However, the foreseen market success of such a technology is still far to be realized. There are several research challenges for personal robotics, which are mainly related to the need of a high degree of personalization of the robot behavior with respect to the specific user’s needs and preferences. The user’s experience of personalized and adaptive interaction with the robot is key to its large-scale adoption. Companies need to build solutions rooted in a deeper analysis of humans’ specificities before developing products for people. Policymakers need to base their regulations on the view of possible long-term interaction, and not only on possible contingent needs. At the same time, academia needs to nurture the development of an extended research community with a set of interdisciplinary skills to investigate different robot’s capabilities for understanding and modeling the interaction with human beings, for decision mechanisms to appropriately adapt the robot’s behavior to the context, and software integration mechanisms that allow an easy, personalized configuration approach to limit the hard and costly processes for customizing novel robotic system.

The European Training Network on PErsonalized Robotics as SErvice Oriented applications – PERSEO – aims at training and creating a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers and professionals with an entrepreneurship ethos and transferrable skillset to face both societal and technological research challenges of this forthcoming market of personal robots. These consist respectively in the development of personalized and acceptable robot’s perceptual and interaction capabilities to be distributed as Cloud Services personal robot applications as companions, in rehabilitation, and for edutainment. The PERSEO research and training program is organized into three Research Themes aimed at investigating personalization of robot capabilities at different levels of possible Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), namely “Physical, “Cognitive”, and “Social”. This requires a set of research skills ranging from computer science and AI to automation, ethics, and psychology, and the use of a collaborative design approach. Integration Milestones, will provide co-working societal problems where collaborative design/implementation is fostered and supported by partner organizations.