Control of a Mobile Service Robot Using Human Evaluations of Task-related Movement Patterns
John Travis Butler* and Arvin Agah**
*Management & Data Systems Lockheed Martin Corporation, Litchfield Park, Arizona 85340 U.S.A.
**Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045 U.S.A.
An important future application of robotics will be the utilization of mobile service robots in homes and offices, assisting people with their daily chores. Above all, these robots must be safe to use. In addition, service robots must be designed to be effective, productive, and user-friendly. In order for people to accept and use these robots, the robots must behave in a manner acceptable to humans. The intelligent control of service robots must take into. account the effects of robot behaviors on people. This paper focuses on the interactions between humans and mobile service robots, studying how people respond to a variety of robot behaviors as the robot performs certain tasks. Since different people could react differently to service robots, this paper reports on the effects of users’ gender, age, technical background, and robot body preference on the responses to robot behaviors. The robot behaviors include the robot approaching a human, the robot avoiding a human while passing, and the robot performing non-interactive behaviors. The level of comfort the robot caused human subjects was analyzed according to the effects of robot speed, robot distance, and robot body design. It is hoped that information gained from human factor studies can be used to obtain a better understanding of acceptability of service robots by different people, resulting in the design and development of more effective intelligent controllers for service robots in the coming new generation.
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