Socially Compliant Path Planning for Robotic Autonomous Luggage Trolley Collection at Airports
Sensors 2019, 19(12), 2759; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19122759 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 May 2019 / Revised: 13 June 2019 / Accepted: 13 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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This paper describes a socially compliant path planning scheme for robotic autonomous luggage trolley collection at airports. The robot is required to efficiently collect all assigned luggage trolleys in a designated area, while avoiding obstacles and not offending the pedestrians. This path planning
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This paper describes a socially compliant path planning scheme for robotic autonomous luggage trolley collection at airports. The robot is required to efficiently collect all assigned luggage trolleys in a designated area, while avoiding obstacles and not offending the pedestrians. This path planning problem is formulated in this paper as a Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). Different from the conventional solutions to the TSP, in which the Euclidean distance between two sites is used as the metric, a high-dimensional metric including the factor of pedestrians’ feelings is applied in this work. To obtain the new metric, a novel potential function is firstly proposed to model the relationship between the robot, luggage trolleys, obstacles, and pedestrians. The Social Force Model (SFM) is utilized so that the pedestrians can bring extra influence on the potential field, different from ordinary obstacles. Directed by the attractive and repulsive force generated from the potential field, a number of paths connecting the robot and the luggage trolley, or two luggage trolleys, can be obtained. The length of the generated path is considered as the new metric. The Self-Organizing Map (SOM) satisfies the job of finding a final path to connect all luggage trolleys and the robot located in the potential field, as it can find the intrinsic connection in the high dimensional space. Therefore, while incorporating the new metric, the SOM is used to find the optimal path in which the robot can collect the assigned luggage trolleys in sequence. As a demonstration, the proposed path planning method is implemented in simulation experiments, showing an increase of efficiency and efficacy.