Cooperative social robots to accompany groups of people

Journal Article (2012)


The International Journal of Robotics Research







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This study proposes a new model for guiding people in urban settings using multiple robots that work cooperatively. More specifically, this investigation describes the circumstances in which people might stray from the formation when following different robots’ instructions. To this end, we introduce a “Prediction and Anticipation Model” that predicts the position of the group using a Particle Filter, while determining the optimal robot behavior to help people stay in the group in areas where they may become distracted. As a result, this article presents a novel approach to locally optimizing the work performed by robots and people using the minimum robots’ work criterion and determining human-friendly types of movements. The guidance missions were carried out in urban areas that included multiple conflict areas and obstacles. This study also provides an analysis of robots’ behavioral reactions to people by simulating different situations in the locations that were used for the investigation. The method was tested through simulations that took into account the difficulties and technological constraints derived from real-life situations. Despites these problematic issues, we were able to demonstrate the robots’ effect on people in real-life situations in terms of pushing and dragging forces.


mobile robots, multi-robot systems, service robots.

Author keywords

cooperative robots, robot companions, social human-robot interaction, service robots

Scientific reference

A. Garrell Zulueta and A. Sanfeliu. Cooperative social robots to accompany groups of people. The International Journal of Robotics Research, 31(13): 1675-1701, 2012.