Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Signage system for the navigation of autonomous robots in indoor environments

Abstract:      

                 Robotics is a fascinating discipline that easily engages engineering students. As robots in education are stimulating and motivating, there are good reasons for introducing robotics activities very early in course curricula, allowing students to easily perceive the relationships between undergraduate courses, in their theory and practice. Robotics also offers a good basis for teaching different engineering disciplines.One of the main research goals of social robotics is the incorporation of robots in environments surrounded by people, for example, at home, hospitals, museums, offices, factories, etc. In those places, the autonomy of a social robot plays a key role and navigation is one of its needed skills. In many occasions people need to go to certain places without having any prior knowledge about the environment. This situation may occur when the place is visited for the first time, or even when there is not any available map to situate us. In those cases, the signs of the environment are essential for achieving the goal. The same situation may happen for an autonomous robot. This kind of robots must be capable of solving this problem in a natural way. In order to do that, they must use the resources present in their environment. This paper presents a RFID-based signage system, which has been developed to guide and give important information to an autonomous robot. The system has been implemented in a real indoor environment and it has been successfully proved in the autonomous and social robot Maggie. At the end of the paper some experimental results, carried out inside our university building, are presented.

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