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The Goal-Leaders project aims at developing biologically-constrained architectures for the next generation of adaptive service robots, with unprecedented levels of goal-directedness and proactivity. Goal-Leaders will realize builder robots able to realize externally assigned tasks (e.g., fetching objects, composing building parts) and, at the same time, keeping their homeostatic drives within a safe range (e.g., never end up without energy or get hurt), by operating autonomously and for prolonged periods of time in open-ended environments.

To this aim, Goal-Leaders will pursue a combined neuroscientific, computational and robotic study of three key sets of competences:

-the biological and computational mechanisms behind an agent’s goal system, which integrates somatic, affective, and cognitive elements, and realizes the setting and selection of the agent’s goals;

-the biological and computational mechanisms that support the assignment of situation-dependent value to an agent’s state and action representations, and therefore realize the link between the agent’s goal system and perceptual-motor processes;

-the biological and computational mechanisms behind an agent’s anticipatory and mental simulation abilities.