Socially aware path planning for mobile robots

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Robotica, 2016, 34 (3), pp. 513 - 526
Issue Date:
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© 2014 Cambridge University Press. Human-robot interaction is an emerging area of research where a robot may need to be working in human-populated environments. Human trajectories are generally not random and can belong to gross patterns. Knowledge about these patterns can be learned through observation. In this paper, we address the problem of a robot's social awareness by learning human motion patterns and integrating them in path planning. The gross motion patterns are learned using a novel Sampled Hidden Markov Model, which allows the integration of partial observations in dynamic model building. This model is used in the modified A∗ path planning algorithm to achieve socially aware trajectories. Novelty of the proposed method is that it can be used on a mobile robot for simultaneous online learning and path planning. The experiments carried out in an office environment show that the paths can be planned seamlessly, avoiding personal spaces of occupants.
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