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Natural Person-Following Behavior for Social Robots



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Natural Person Following Behavior for Social Robots Rachel Gockley rachelg cs cmu edu Jodi Forlizzi forlizzi cs cmu edu Reid Simmons reids cs cmu edu Carnegie Mellon University 5000 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh PA 15213 ABSTRACT We are developing robots with socially appropriate spatial skills not only to travel around or near people but also to accompany people side by side As a step toward this goal we are investigating the social perceptions of a robot s movement as it follows behind a person This paper discusses our laser based person tracking method and two different approaches to person following direction following and path following While both algorithms have similar characteristics in terms of tracking performance and following distances participants in a pilot study rated the direction following behavior as significantly more humanlike and natural than the path following behavior We argue that the path following method may still be more appropriate in some situations and we propose that the ideal personfollowing behavior may be a hybrid approach with the robot automatically selecting which method to use Categories and Subject Descriptors I 2 9 Artificial Intelligence Robotics J 4 Social and Behavioral Sciences psychology Figure 1 The robot Grace following a person down a hallway General Terms Design Human Factors Experimentation Performance people who are not roboticists Moving in easily understood and predictable ways will both improve people s trust in and comfort with the robot as well as help insure the safety of people moving near the robot Our overall goal is to develop robots with spatial social skills robots that navigate in ways that people understand and expect We are interested in developing robots that can operate as social assistants such as encouraging nursing home residents to participate in social activities and accompanying them to common areas Such a robot cannot simply drive toward a goal and expect the person to follow it rather it needs to



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