Adaptive side-by-side social robot navigation to approach and interact with people

Journal Article (2020)


International Journal of Social Robotics





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This paper presents a new framework for how autonomous social robots approach and accompany people in urban environments. The method discussed allows the robot to accompany a person and approach to other one, by adapting its own navigation in anticipation of future interactions with other people or contact with static obstacles. The contributions of the paper are manifold: firstly, we extended the Social Force model and the Anticipative Kinodynamic Planner to the case of an adaptive side-by-side navigation; secondly, we enhance side-by-side navigation with an approaching task and a final positioning that allows the robot to interact with both people; and finally, we use findings from experiments of real-life observations of people walking in pairs to define the parameters of the human-robot interaction in our case of adaptive side-by-side. The method was validated by a large set of simulations; we also conducted real-life experiments with our robot, Tibi, to validate the framework described for the interaction process. In addition, we carried out various surveys and user studies to indicate the social acceptability of the robot’s performance of the accompanying, approaching and positioning tasks.


humanoid robots, mobile robots, social aspects of automation.

Author keywords

Human-Robot companion side-by-side, Human-Robot approaching, Robot Navigation, Human-Robot Interaction, Human-Robot Collaboration.

Scientific reference

E. Repiso, A. Garrell Zulueta and A. Sanfeliu. Adaptive side-by-side social robot navigation to approach and interact with people. International Journal of Social Robotics, 12: 909-930, 2020.