The main goal of the project revolves around performing a coordinated collaboration task. Here robot ROSE collaborates with a logistics robot in a health care scenario. For successful collaboration the robots share a central coordination module: the Fleet Manager.
The project required the development of robust navigation methods which can avoid static and dynamic obstacles. These dynamic obstacles may also include humans, which are present in the same area the robot operates in. Deployed navigation methods on the robot respect the personal space of these humans at all times. The personal space of the human is modelled as a function of the velocity of the human, which in turn dynamically affects the navigation behaviour of the robot. Furthermore, different areas often require, or sometimes even demand, adapted navigation behaviour. Therefore, we integrated a functionality on the robot which makes sure that it adapts its navigation behaviour (i.e., its velocity) based on which area of the facility it enters in order to convey that it is aware of its situation to its surroundings. Lastly, the navigation map can be augmented with “no-go zones” to ensure safety, i.e., to prevent damage to its surroundings or the robot itself.
HIT implemented the social autonomous navigation behaviour on the robot. Furthermore, to execute the coordination task properly, the robots should be controlled from a central point. This is done by the Fleet Manager. By integration and development of the Fleet Manager, we managed to successfully execute the coordination task.
The coordination task consists of the following subtasks:
- Client asks for a towel.
- The logistics robot drives to a care worker in the towel storage area.
- The care worker puts the towel on the logistics robot.
- The Fleet Manager commands both the logistics robot as well as ROSE to navigate to a “meeting place”.
- ROSE will grab the towel from the logistics robot by teleoperation.
- Whenever the “handover” is successfully completed, the Fleet Manager commands both robots to their next location. This takes the logistics robot to its original location and ROSE will navigate to the client which requested the towel.
- By means of teleoperation ROSE presents and gives the towel to the client.
For visual support regarding the executed coordination task, please refer to the movie.