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Advanced behaviour and high-level multimodal Communication with and among robots


This project will primarily advance the state of the art in high-level communication with and among robots. This communication will be based on a high-level discourse model derived from human communication. Rather than focusing on improvements of a single mode (like speech), communication will be multimodal and even involve behaviours (like movements and gestures) as well as their recognition for advanced Human-Robot Interaction. The discourse model will serve as a basis for advanced Robot-Robot Interaction as well. In effect, a major objective of this work is a unified communication approach. It will be implemented in a software platform for communication.

Based on this advanced approach to communication, both close cooperation of robots with people and cooperating robots will be facilitated. Information exchange amongst robots about the status of the shared environment will make the navigation in cluttered areas more efficient and safe. While collaborative behaviour is important, several other issues related to advanced behaviour of robots in dynamic environments will be addressed as well: detection and avoidance of dynamic obstacles, self-localization based on landmarks, learning of a topological map indexed by these landmarks, as well as autonomous navigation based on topological and metrical information. So, a major objective of this work is to tackle more complex environments for robots as compared to previous work.

For showing the feasibility of the proposed innovations, a prototype robot will be developed in the course of this project - a robot trolley. This robot will be a prototype for such trolleys to be used in supermarkets, airports, etc. In addition to carrying goods and to guide a user in a complex, structured and dynamic environment, it will have a second function as a walking aid. This function will support a challenged and/or elderly person to lean on the trolley while the walking pace is controlled to follow a user-determined setting.

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