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  1. We present a context classification pipeline to allow a robot to change its navigation strategy based on the observed social scenario. Socially-Aware Navigation considers social behavior in order to improve navigation around people. Most of the existing research uses different techniques to incorporate social norms into robot path planning for a single context. Methods that work for hallway behavior might not work for approaching people, and so on. We developed a high-level decision-making subsystem, a model-based context classifier, and a multi-objective optimization-based local planner to achieve socially-aware trajectories for autonomously sensed contexts. Using a context classification system, the robot canmore »select social objectives that are later used by Pareto Concavity Elimination Transformation (PaCcET) based local planner to generate safe, comfortable, and socially appropriate trajectories for its environment. This was tested and validated in multiple environments on a Pioneer mobile robot platform; results show that the robot could select and account for social objectives related to navigation autonomously.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 8, 2022
  2. Mobile robots are increasingly populating homes, hospitals, shopping malls, factory floors, and other human environments. Human society has social norms that people mutually accept; obeying these norms is an essential signal that someone is participating socially with respect to the rest of the population. For robots to be socially compatible with humans, it is crucial for robots to obey these social norms. In prior work, we demonstrated a Socially-Aware Navigation (SAN) planner, based on Pareto Concavity Elimination Transformation (PaCcET), in a hallway scenario, optimizing two objectives so the robot does not invade the personal space of people. This article extendsmore »our PaCcET-based SAN planner to multiple scenarios with more than two objectives. We modified the Robot Operating System’s (ROS) navigation stack to include PaCcET in the local planning task. We show that our approach can accommodate multiple Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) scenarios. Using the proposed approach, we achieved successful HRI in multiple scenarios such as hallway interactions, an art gallery, waiting in a queue, and interacting with a group. We implemented our method on a simulated PR2 robot in a 2D simulator (Stage) and a pioneer-3DX mobile robot in the real-world to validate all the scenarios. A comprehensive set of experiments shows that our approach can handle multiple interaction scenarios on both holonomic and non-holonomic robots; hence, it can be a viable option for a Unified Socially-Aware Navigation (USAN).« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 19, 2022
  3. First impressions make up an integral part of our interactions with other humans by providing an instantaneous judgment of the trustworthiness, dominance and attractiveness of an individual prior to engaging in any other form of interaction. Unfortunately, this can lead to unintentional bias in situations that have serious consequences, whether it be in judicial proceedings, career advancement, or politics. The ability to automatically recognize social traits presents a number of highly useful applications: from minimizing bias in social interactions to providing insight into how our own facial attributes are interpreted by others. However, while first impressions are well-studied in themore »field of psychology, automated methods for predicting social traits are largely non-existent. In this work, we demonstrate the feasibility of two automated approaches—multi-label classification (MLC) and multi-output regression (MOR)—for first impression recognition from faces. We demonstrate that both approaches are able to predict social traits with better than chance accuracy, but there is still significant room for improvement. We evaluate ethical concerns and detail application areas for future work in this direction.« less
  4. As Human-Robot Interaction becomes more sophisticated, measuring the performance of a social robot is crucial to gauging the effectiveness of its behavior. However, social behavior does not necessarily have strict performance metrics that other autonomous behavior can have. Indeed, when considering robot navigation, a socially-appropriate action may be one that is sub-optimal, resulting in longer paths, longer times to get to a goal. Instead, we can rely on subjective assessments of the robot's social performance by a participant in a robot interaction or by a bystander. In this paper, we use the newly-validated Perceived Social Intelligence (PSI) scale to examinemore »the perception of non-humanoid robots in non-verbal social scenarios. We show that there are significant differences between the perceived social intelligence of robots exhibiting SAN behavior compared to one using a traditional navigation planner in scenarios such as waiting in a queue and group behavior.« less
  5. This work presents ideation and preliminary results of using contextual information and information of the objects present in the scene to query applicable social navigation rules for the sensed context. Prior work in socially-Aware Navigation (SAN) shows its importance in human-robot interaction as it improves the interaction quality, safety and comfort of the interacting partner. In this work, we are interested in automatic detection of social rules in SAN and we present three major components of our method, namely: a Convolutional Neural Network-based context classifier that can autonomously perceive contextual information using camera input; a YOLO-based object detection to localizemore »objects with a scene; and a knowledge base of social rules relationships with the concepts to query them using both contextual and detected objects in the scene. Our preliminary results suggest that our approach can observe an on-going interaction, given an image input, and use that information to query the social navigation rules required in that particular context.« less
  6. Robotic social intelligence is increasingly important. However, measures of human social intelligence omit basic skills, and robot-specific scales do not focus on social intelligence. We combined human robot interaction concepts of beliefs, desires, and intentions with psychology concepts of behaviors, cognitions, and emotions to create 20 Perceived Social Intelligence (PSI) Scales to comprehensively measure perceptions of robots with a wide range of embodiments and behaviors. Participants rated humanoid and non-humanoid robots interacting with people in five videos. Each scale had one factor and high internal consistency, indicating each measures a coherent construct. Scales capturing perceived social information processing skills (appearingmore »to recognize, adapt to, and predict behaviors, cognitions, and emotions) and scales capturing perceived skills for identifying people (appearing to identify humans, individuals, and groups) correlated strongly with social competence and constituted the Mind and Behavior factors. Social presentation scales (appearing friendly, caring, helpful, trustworthy, and not rude, conceited, or hostile) relate more to Social Response to Robots Scales and Godspeed Indices, form a separate factor, and predict positive feelings about robots and wanting social interaction with them. For a comprehensive measure, researchers can use all PSI 20 scales for free. Alternatively, they can select the most relevant scales for their projects.« less
  7. Efficient arrangement of UAVs in a swarm formation is essential to the functioning of the swarm as a temporary communication network. Such a network could assist in search and rescue efforts by providing first responders with a means of communication. We propose a user-friendly and effective system for calculating and visualizing an optimal layout of UAVs. An initial calculation to gather parameter information is followed by the proposed algorithm that generates an optimal solution. A visualization is displayed in an easy-to-comprehend manner after the proposed iterative genetic algorithm finds an optimal solution. The proposed system runs iteratively, adding UAV atmore »each intermediate conclusion, until a solution is found. Information is passed between runs of the iterative genetic algorithm to reduce runtime and complexity. The results from testing show that the proposed algorithm yields optimal solutions more frequently than the k-means clustering algorithm. This system finds an optimal solution 80% of the time while k-means clustering is unable to find a solution when presented with a complex problem.« less
  8. Sampling based planning is an important step for long-range navigation for an autonomous vehicle. This work proposes a GPU-accelerated sampling based path planning algorithm which can be used as a global planner in autonomous navigation tasks. A modified version of the generation portion for the Probabilistic Road Map (PRM) algorithm is presented which reorders some steps of the algorithm in order to allow for parallelization and thus can benefit highly from utilization of a GPU. The GPU and CPU algorithms were compared using a simulated navigation environment with graph generation tasks of several different sizes. It was found that themore »GPU-accelerated version of the PRM algorithm had significant speedup over the CPU version (up to 78×). This results provides promising motivation towards implementation of a real-time autonomous navigation system in the future.« less
  9. Intelligent robot swarms are increasingly being explored as tools for search and rescue missions. Efficient path planning and robust communication networks are critical elements of completing missions. The focus of this research is to give unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) the ability to self-organize a mesh network that is optimized for area coverage. The UAVs will be able to read the communication strength between themselves and all the UAVs it is connected to using RSSI. The UAVs should be able to adjust their positioning closer to other UAVs if RSSI is below a threshold, and they should also maintain communication asmore »a group if they move together along a search path. Our approach was to use Genetic Algorithms in a simulated environment to achieve multi-node exploration with emphasis on connectivity and swarm spread.« less
  10. An industrial environment usually has a lot of waste that could cause harmful effects to both the products and the workers resulting in product defects, itchy eyes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc. While automatic cleaning robots could be used, the environment is often too large for one robot to clean alone in addition to the fact that it does not have adequate stored dirt capacity. We present a multi-robotic dirt cleaning algorithm for coordinating multiple iRobot-Creates as a team to efficiently clean an environment. Often, since some spaces in the environment are clean while others are dirty, our multi-roboticmore »system possesses a path planning algorithm to allow the robot team to clean efficiently by increasing vacuum motor power on the area with higher dirt level. Overall, our multi-robotic system outperforms the single robot system in time efficiency while having almost the same total battery usage and cleaning efficiency result. The project source codes is available on our ARA lab's github:« less