Human-robot collaboration and machine learning: a systematic review of recent research

Francesco Semeraro, Alexander Griffiths, Angelo Cangelosi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Technological progress increasingly envisions the use of robots interacting with people in everyday life. Human-robot collaboration (HRC) is the approach that explores the interaction between a human and a robot, during the completion of a common objective, at the cognitive and physical level. In HRC works, a cognitive model is typically built, which collects inputs from the environment and from the user, elaborates and translates these into information that can be used by the robot itself. Machine learning is a recent approach to build the cognitive model and behavioural block, with high potential in HRC. Consequently, this paper proposes a thorough literature review of the use of machine learning techniques in the context of human-robot collaboration. 45 key papers were selected and analysed, and a clustering of works based on the type of collaborative tasks, evaluation metrics and cognitive variables modelled is proposed. Then, a deep analysis on different families of machine learning algorithms and their properties, along with the sensing modalities used, is carried out. Among the observations, it is outlined the importance of the machine learning algorithms to incorporate time dependencies. The salient features of these works are then cross-analysed to show trends in HRC and give guidelines for future works, comparing them with other aspects of HRC not appeared in the review.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102432
JournalRobotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
Early online date10 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Cobot
  • Collaborative robotics
  • Human–robot collaboration
  • Human–robot interaction
  • Machine learning


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