Wheelchair driver assistance and intention prediction using POMDPs

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 2007 International Conference on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing, ISSNIP, 2007, pp. 449 - 454
Issue Date:
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Electric wheelchairs give otherwise immobile people the free-dom of movement, they significantly increase independence and dramatically increase quality of life. However the physical control systems of such wheelchair can be prohibitive for some users; for example, people with severe tremors. Several assisted wheelchair platforms have been developed in the past to assist such users. Algorithms that assist specific behaviors such as door - passing, follow - corridor, or avoid - obstacles have been successful. Recent research has seen a move towards systems that predict the users intentions, based on the users input. These predictions have been typically limited to locations immediately surrounding the wheelchair. This paper presents a new assisted wheelchair driving system with large scale intelligent intention recognition based on POMDPs (Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes). The systems acts as an intelligent agent/decision-maker, it relies on minimal user input; to predict the users intention and then autonomously drives the user to his destination. The prediction is constantly being updated as new user input is received allowing for true user/system integration. This shifts the users focus from fine motor-skilled control to coarse control intended to convey intention. © 2007 IEEE.
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