Telling a robot where to go without having to speak like a robot – that is, with so-called natural language commands – is now a lot easier, thanks to a new model based on how people actually speak when giving directions.

Currently, many robots use simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) to know where they are in a given landscape. They have to concurrently keep track of their location on a map, while constantly updating their knowledge of the environment.

“SLAM is powerful and is great,” says Jason Corso