Thierry Fraichard; Thierry Fraichard (LIG & INRIA Grenoble/France)

Human-Robot Motion: an Attention-Based Approach

Abstract: For autonomous mobile robots designed to share their environment with humans, path safety and efficiency are not the only aspects guiding their motion: they must follow social rules so as not to cause discomfort to surrounding people. Most socially-aware path planners rely heavily on the concept of social spaces; however, social spaces are hard to model and they are of limited use in the context of human-robot interaction where intrusion into social spaces is necessary. In this work, a new approach for socially-aware path planning is presented that performs well in complex environments as well as in the context of human-robot interaction. Specifically, the concept of attention is used to model how the influence of the environment as a whole affects how the robot's motion is perceived by people within close proximity. A new computational model of attention is presented that estimates how our attention resources are shared among the salient elements in our environment. Based on this model, the novel concept of attention field is introduced and a path planner that relies on this field is developed in order to produce socially acceptable paths. To do so, a state-of-the-art many-objective optimization algorithm is successfully applied to the path planning problem. The capacities of the proposed approach are illustrated in several case studies where the robot is assigned different tasks. Firstly, when the task is to navigate in the environment without causing distraction our approach produces promising results even in complex situations. Secondly, when the task is to attract a person's attention in view of interacting with him or her, the motion planner is able to automatically choose a destination that best conveys its desire to interact whilst keeping the motion safe, efficient and socially acceptable.

Bio: Dr. Thierry Fraichard is an INRIA Research Scientist specializing in Robotics. His research focuses on motion autonomy for mobile robots and vehicles with a special emphasis on motion in dynamic and uncertain environments, motion safety and motion among humans. He received his Ph.D in Computer Science from Grenoble-INP, the Grenoble Institute of Technology in April 1992. In March 2006, Grenoble-INP awarded him the Habilitation (HDR) for his "Contributions to Motion Planning". Thierry Fraichard currently works at the INRIA Grenoble Rhône-Alpes Research Center located in Grenoble, France. From December 1993 to November 1994, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Robotics Institute@Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. From November 2000 to January 2001, then again in November 2001, he was a Tan Chin Tuan Fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. From September to December 2002, he was a JSPS Fellow at Riken Institute in Tokyo, Japan. From September 2007 to August 2008, he was a Guest Scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland. From June 2014 to May 2015, he was a Guest Scientist at the Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel.