AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Mobile Robot Planning to Seek Help with Spatially-Situated Tasks
Stephanie Rosenthal, Manuela Veloso

Last modified: 2012-07-14


Indoor autonomous mobile service robots can overcome their hardware and potential algorithmic limitations by asking humans for help. In this work, we focus on mobile robots that need human assistance at specific spatially-situated locations (e.g., to push buttons in an elevator or to make coffee in the kitchen). We address the problem of what the robot should do when there are no humans present at such help locations. As the robots are mobile, we argue that they should plan to proactively seek help and travel to offices or occupied locations to bring people to the help locations. Such planning involves many trade-offs, including the wait time at the help location before seeking help, and the time and potential interruption to find and displace someone in an office. In order to choose appropriate parameters to represent such decisions, we first conduct a survey to understand potential helpers' travel preferences in terms of distance, interruptibility, and frequency of providing help. We then use these results to contribute a decision-theoretic algorithm to evaluate the possible choices in offices and plan where to proactively seek help. We demonstrate that our algorithm aims to minimize the number of office interruptions as well as task completion time.


Asking for help; Human-Robot Interaction; Robotics

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