Bootstrapping navigation and path planning using human positional traces

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2013, pp. 1242 - 1247
Issue Date:
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Navigating and path planning in environments with limited a priori knowledge is a fundamental challenge for mobile robots. Robots operating in human-occupied environments must also respect sociocontextual boundaries such as personal workspaces. There is a need for robots to be able to navigate in such environments without having to explore and build an intricate representation of the world. In this paper, a method for supplementing directly observed environmental information with indirect observations of occupied space is presented. The proposed approach enables the online inclusion of novel human positional traces and environment information into a probabilistic framework for path planning. Encapsulation of sociocontextual information, such as identifying areas that people tend to use to move through the environment, is inherently achieved without supervised learning or labelling. Our method bootstraps navigation with indirectly observed sensor data, and leverages the flexibility of the Gaussian process (GP) for producing a navigational map that sampling based path planers such as Probabilistic Roadmaps (PRM) can effectively utilise. Empirical results on a mobile platform demonstrate that a robot can efficiently and socially-appropriately reach a desired goal by exploiting the navigational map in our Bayesian statistical framework. © 2013 IEEE.
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