Evaluating Directional Cost Models in Navigation


A common approach to social distancing in robot navigation are spatial cost functions around humans that cause the robot to prefer paths that do not come too close to humans. However, in unpredictably dynamic scenarios, following such paths may produce robot behavior that appears confused. The concept of directional costs in cost functions is supposed to alleviate this problem without incurring the problem of combinatorial explosions using temporal planning. With directional cost functions, a robot attempts to solve spatial conflicts by adjusting the velocity instead of the path, where possible. To complement results from simulations, in this paper we describe a user study we conducted with a PR2 robot and human participants to evaluate the new cost function type. The study shows that the real robot behavior is similar to the observations in simulation, and that participants rate the robot behavior less confusing with the adapted cost model. The study also shows other important behavior cues that can influence motion legibility.

Proc. ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)