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This paper reports the challenges of developing multiple social robots that operate in a shopping mall. We developed a networked robot system that coordinates multiple social robots and sensors to provide efficient service to customers. It directs the tasks of robots based on their positions and people's walking behavior, manages the paths of robots, and coordinates the conversation-performance between two robots. Laser range finders were distributed in the environment to estimate people's positions. The system estimates such human walking behaviors as Â¿stoppingÂ¿ or Â¿idle walkingÂ¿ to direct robots to provide appropriate tasks to appropriate people. Each robot interacts with people to provide recommendation information and route information about shops. The system sometimes simultaneously uses two robots to lead people from one place to another. The field trial, which was conducted in a shopping mall where four robots interacted with 414 people, revealed the effectiveness of the network robot system for guiding people around a shopping mall as well as increasing their interest.
Date of Conference: 10-15 Oct. 2009