The Interactive Museum Tour-Guide Robot

Wolfram Burgard, Armin B. Cremers, Dieter Fox, Dirk Hähnel, Gerhard Lakemeyer, Dirk Schulz, Walter Steiner, Sebastian Thrun

This paper describes the software architecture of an autonomous tour-guide/tutor robot. This robot was recently deployed in the "Deutsches Museum Bonn," were it guided hundreds of visitors through the museum during a six-day deployment period. The robot’s control software integrates low-level probabilistic reasoning with high-level problem solving embedded in first order logic. A collection of software innovations, described in this paper, enabled the robot to navigate at high speeds through dense crowds, while reliably avoiding collisions with obstacles--some of which could not even be perceived. Also described in this paper is a user interface tailored towards non-expert users, which was essential for the robot’s success in the museum. Based on these experiences, this paper argues that time is ripe for the development of AI-based commercial service robots that assist people in everyday life.

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