Where Can I Help? Human-Aware Placement of Service Robots

Lilli Bruckschen, Kira Bungert, Moritz Wolter, Stefan Krumpen, Michael Weinmann, Reinhard Klein und Maren Bennewitz
In proceedings of Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), 2020
 

Abstract

As service robots are entering more and more homes it gets evermore important to find behavior strategies that ensure a harmonic coexistence between those systems and their users. In this paper, we present a novel approach to enable a mobile robot to provide timely assistance to a user moving in its environment, while simultaneously avoiding unnecessary movements as well as interferences with the user. We developed a framework that uses information about the last object interaction to predict possible future movement destinations of the user and infer where they might need assistance based on prior knowledge. Given this prediction, the robot chooses the best position for itself that minimizes the time until assistance can be provided as well as avoids interferences with other activities of the user. We evaluated our approach in comparison to state-of-the-art methods in simulated environments and performed a user study in a virtual reality environment. Our evaluation demonstrates that our approach is able to decrease both the time until assistance is provided and the travel distance of the robot as well as increases the average distance between the user and the robot in comparison to state-of-the-art systems. Additionally, the robot behavior generated by our method is rated as more pleasant by our study participants than comparable literature approaches.

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Bibtex

@INPROCEEDINGS{bruckschen-2020-ro-man,
     author = {Bruckschen, Lilli and Bungert, Kira and Wolter, Moritz and Krumpen, Stefan and Weinmann, Michael and
               Klein, Reinhard and Bennewitz, Maren},
      title = {Where Can I Help? Human-Aware Placement of Service Robots},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN)},
       year = {2020},
   abstract = {As service robots are entering more and more homes it gets evermore important to find behavior
               strategies that ensure a harmonic coexistence between those systems and their users. In this paper,
               we present a novel approach to enable a mobile robot to provide timely assistance to a user moving
               in its environment, while simultaneously avoiding unnecessary movements as well as interferences
               with the user. We developed a framework that uses information about the last object interaction to
               predict possible future movement destinations of the user and infer where they might need assistance
               based on prior knowledge. Given this prediction, the robot chooses the best position for itself that
               minimizes the time until assistance can be provided as well as avoids interferences with other
               activities of the user. We evaluated our approach in comparison to state-of-the-art methods in
               simulated environments and performed a user study in a virtual reality environment. Our evaluation
               demonstrates that our approach is able to decrease both the time until assistance is provided and
               the travel distance of the robot as well as increases the average distance between the user and the
               robot in comparison to state-of-the-art systems. Additionally, the robot behavior generated by our
               method is rated as more pleasant by our study participants than comparable literature approaches.}
}