by , , ,
We consider the problem of navigating a mobile robot through dense human crowds. We begin by exploring a fundamental impediment to classical motion planning algorithms called the ``freezing robot problem'': once the environment surpasses a certain level of dynamic complexity, the planner decides that all forward paths are unsafe, and the robot freezes in place (or performs unnecessary maneuvers) to avoid collisions. We argue that this problem can be avoided if the robot anticipates human cooperation, and accordingly we develop interacting Gaussian processes, a prediction density that captures cooperative collision avoidance, and a ``multiple goal'' extension that models the goal driven nature of human decision making. We validate this model with an empirical study of robot navigation in dense human crowds (488 runs), specifically testing how cooperation models effect navigation performance. The multiple goal interacting Gaussian processes algorithm performs comparably with human teleoperators in crowd densities nearing 0.8 humans/m2, while a state of the art noncooperative planner exhibits unsafe behavior more than 3 times as often as the multiple goal extension, and twice as often as the basic interacting Gaussian process approach. Furthermore, a reactive planner based on the widely used dynamic window approach proves insufficient for crowd densities above 0.55 people/m2. We also show that our noncooperative planner or our reactive planner capture the salient characteristics of nearly any dynamic navigation algorithm. Based on these experimental results and theoretical observations, we conclude that a cooperation model is critical for safe and efficient robot navigation in dense human crowds.
Robot Navigation in Dense Crowds: Statistical Models and Experimental Studies of Human Robot Cooperation P. Trautman, J. Ma, R. Murray, A. KrauseIn International Journal on Robotics Research (IJRR), 2015
Bibtex Entry:
	author = {Pete Trautman and Jeremy Ma and Richard Murray and Andreas Krause},
	doi = {10.1177/0278364914557874},
	journal = {International Journal on Robotics Research (IJRR)},
	month = {February},
	title = {Robot Navigation in Dense Crowds: Statistical Models and Experimental Studies of Human Robot Cooperation},
	year = {2015}}