• The development of a semi-autonomous framework for personal assistant robots - SRS Project

      Qiu, Renxi; Ji, Ze; Chivarov, N.; Arbeiter, Georg; Weisshardt, Florian; Rooker, M.; Lopez, R.; Kronreif, G.; Spanel, M.; Li, Dayou; et al. (IGI Global, 2013)
      SRS is a European research project for building robust personal assistant robots using ROS (Robotic Operating System) and Care-O-bot (COB) 3 as the demonstration platform. A semi-autonomous framework has been developed in the project. It consists of an autonomous control structure and user interfaces that support the semi-autonomous operation. The control structure is divided into two parts. First, it has an automatic task planner, which initialises actions on the symbolic level. The planner produces proactive robotic behaviours based on updated semantic knowledge. Second, it has an action executive for coordination actions at the level of sensing and actuation. The executive produces reactive behaviours in well-defined domains. The two parts are integrated by fuzzy logic based symbolic grounding. As a whole, they represent the framework for autonomous control. Based on the framework, SRS user interfaces are integrated on top of COB’s existing capabilities to enable robust fetch and carry in unstructured environments.
    • Integration of symbolic task planning into operations within an unstructured environment

      Qiu, Renxi; Noyvirt, Alexandre; Ji, Ze; Soroka, Anthony; Li, Dayou; Liu, Beisheng; Arbeiter, Georg; Weisshardt, Florian; Xu, Shuo (IGI Global, 2012)
      To ensure a robot capable of robust task execution in unstructured environments, task planners need to have a high-level understanding of the nature of the world, reasoning for deliberate actions, and reacting to environment changes. Proposed is a practical task planning approach that seamlessly integrating deeper domain knowledge, real time perception and symbolic planning for robot operation. A higher degree of autonomy under unstructured environment will be endowed to the robot with the proposed approach.
    • User-centered design of a dynamic-autonomy remote interaction concept for manipulation-capable robots to assist elderly people in the home

      Mast, Marcus; Burmester, Michael; Kruger, Katja; Fatikow, Sascha; Arbeiter, Georg; Graf, Birgit; Kronreif, Gernot; Pigini, Lucia; Facal, David; Qiu, Renxi; et al. (2012-08-01)
      In this article, we describe the development of a human-robot interaction concept for service robots to assist elderly people in the home with physical tasks. Our approach is based on the insight that robots are not yet able to handle all tasks autonomously with sufficient reliability in the complex and heterogeneous environments of private homes. We therefore employ remote human operators to assist on tasks a robot cannot handle completely autonomously. Our development methodology was user-centric and iterative, with six user studies carried out at various stages involving a total of 241 participants. The concept is under implementation on the Care-O-bot 3 robotic platform. The main contributions of this article are (1) the results of a survey in form of a ranking of the demands of elderly people and informal caregivers for a range of 25 robot services, (2) the results of an ethnography investigating the suitability of emergency teleassistance and telemedical centers for incorporating robotic teleassistance, and (3) a user-validated human-robot interaction concept with three user roles and corresponding three user interfaces designed as a solution to the problem of engineering reliable service robots for home environments.