Shakey the Robot Honored with "IEEE Milestone" at the Computer History Museum

MENLO PARK, CA -- Shakey the Robot, the world's first mobile, intelligent robot, developed at SRI International between 1966-1972, will be honored today with a prestigious IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing. The IEEE Milestone program honors significant inventions, locations or events related to electrical engineering and computing that have benefitted humanity, and which are at least 25 years old. IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization advancing technology for humanity.

Members of the original Shakey team will participate in a dedication event to be held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California from 6:00 – 8:30 pm.

The event's program will include the story of Shakey's creation and a discussion of its significant and enduring impact on modern robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), navigation, and gaming. IEEE President Elect Jim Jefferies and IEEE Region 6 Milestone Coordinator and technology consultant Brian A. Berg will officiate the event.

As cast on a bronze plaque, the IEEE Milestone's citation reads: "Stanford Research Institute's Artificial Intelligence Center developed the world's first mobile, intelligent robot, SHAKEY. It could perceive its surroundings, infer implicit facts from explicit ones, create plans, recover from errors in plan execution, and communicate using ordinary English. SHAKEY's software architecture, computer vision, and methods for navigation and planning proved seminal in robotics and in the design of web servers, automobiles, factories, video games, and Mars rovers."

The dedication event will feature an on-stage conversation moderated by John Markoff, historian at the Computer History Museum, author, former technology writer at the New York Times and winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. Markoff will interview original Shakey development team members Peter Hart, Ph.D., and Nils Nilsson, Ph.D., about the story of Shakey's creation.

Markoff will then explore Shakey's legacy when he is joined on stage by three important industry players: Steve Cousins, Ph.D., CEO of robotics companies Willow Garage and Savioke, who will discuss how Shakey's "DNA" is embedded in robots he created at both start-ups; SRI's Bill Mark, who will discuss fundamental issues raised by Shakey that are still on the frontiers of research; and Matthew Heverly, robotics researcher and Mars Rover driver at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), who will explain how Mars Rovers navigate the Martian surface using Shakey's seminal Shortest Path Algorithm.

The original Shakey robot is on display at the Computer History Museum where it is the centerpiece of the Artificial Intelligence portion of its "Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing" exhibition.

Event sponsors for the dedication include SRI International, Savioke Inc., IEEE Santa Clara Valley Section, Berg Software Design and SMP Robotics.

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