Interactive Directed Exploration for Mobile Robots

by Pantelis Elinas

I will describe my thesis work on human-robot interaction. Our mobile robot is equipped with an exploration behavior that allows it to increase its knowledge of its surroundings by visiting unknown regions. This knowledge is internally represented as a 2D occupancy grid map of obstacles and empty space. It is often difficult to decide which are the most interesting places to visit first given the constraints of minimum power consumption and maximum information gain. Robot control systems previously developed in our lab allowed user intervention during exploration using only a mouse and a keyboard on a remote workstation. However, such an interface limits the exploration ability of the robot to the operator's field of view. In this work, we remove this constraint by building an intuitive interface that allows an untethered operator to control the robot using speech and vision.

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