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Initial steps toward human augmented mapping

by Topp, Elin Anna

Abstract (Summary)
With the progress in research and product development humans and robots get more and more close to each other and the idea of a personalised general service robot is not too far fetched. Crucial for such a service robot is the ability to navigate in its working environment. The environment has to be assumed an arbitrary domestic or office-like environment that has to be shared with human users and bystanders. With methods developed and investigated in the field of simultaneous localisation and mapping it has become possible for mobile robots to explore and map an unknown environment, while they can stay localised with respect to their starting point and the surroundings. These approaches though do not consider the representation of the environment that is used by humans to refer to particular places. Robotic maps are often metric representations of features that could be obtained from sensory data. Humans have a more topological, in fact partially hierarchical way of representing environments. Especially for the communication between a user and her personal robot it is thus necessary to provide a link between the robotic map and the human understanding of the robot's workspace.The term Human Augmented Mapping is used for a framework that allows to integrate a robotic map with human concepts. Communication about the environment can thus be facilitated. By assuming an interactive setting for the map acquisition process it is possible for the user to influence the process significantly. Personal preferences can be made part of the environment representation that the robot acquires. Advantages become also obvious for the mapping process itself, since in an interactive setting the robot could ask for information and resolve ambiguities with the help of the user. Thus, a scenario of a "guided tour" in which a user can ask a robot to follow and present the surroundings is assumed as the starting point for a system for the integration of robotic mapping, interaction and human environment representations.Based on results from robotics research, psychology, human-robot interaction and cognitive science a general architecture for a system for Human Augmented Mapping is presented. This architecture combines a hierarchically organised robotic mapping approach with interaction abilities with the help of a high-level environment model. An initial system design and implementation that combines a tracking and following approach with a mapping system is described. Observations from a pilot study in which this initial system was used successfully are reported and support the assumptions about the usefulness of the environment model that is used as the link between robotic and human representation.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Kungliga Tekniska högskolan

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:TECHNOLOGY; Information technology; Computer science; Robotics; Mapping; Human-Robot Interaction

ISBN:91-7178-452-7

Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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