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Control of human-following robot based on cooperative positioning with an intelligent space



This paper proposes a localization method based on interactive communication between a mobile robot and a networked laser range scanner installed in an intelligent space and achieves human-following control of a mobile robot with the method. Generally, human tracking with cameras or laser range scanners on board the robots has been utilized for control of mobile robots to follow human walking. In addition to human tracking, mobile robots have to perform position estimation simultaneously. There are constraints in measurement for landmark detection or SLAM, because the target human walks close to the robot during human following. Thus, the proposed system considers the utilization of an intelligent environment where the sensors are distributed. The proposed system performs mutual exchange of position and heading information between the mobile robot and the networked laser range scanner. The networked laser range scanner searches and detects the target human and the robot based on the position information sent from the robot. The robot receives the detection results from the networked laser range scanner. Then, the estimated position is updated and reference velocities for human-following control are calculated from the results. Estimation errors of odometry in the robot and unstable target tracking by the networked laser range scanner are compensated with this system. In this paper, communication timing between the robot and the networked laser range scanners while human-following is discussed. Human-following experiments are performed and the results are shown. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Electron Comm Jpn, 95(1): 20–30, 2012; Published online in Wiley Online Library ( DOI 10.1002/ecj.10391