Wheelchair driver assistance and intention prediction using POMDPs

IEEE Computer Society
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Networks, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (ISSNIP 2007), 2007, pp. 449 - 454
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Electric wheelchairs give otherwise immobile people the freedom 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. 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.
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