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We describe a robotic tour-taking capability enabling a robot to acquire local knowledge of a human-occupied environment. A tour-taking robot autonomously follows a human guide through an environment, interpreting the guide's spoken utterances and the shared spatiotemporal context in order to acquire a spatially segmented and semantically labeled metrical-topological representation of the environment. The described tour-taking capability enables scalable deployment of mobile robots into human-occupied environments, and natural human-robot interaction for commanded mobility. Our primary contributions are an efficient, socially acceptable autonomous tour-following behavior and a tour interpretation algorithm that partitions a map into spaces labeled according to the guide's utterances. The tour-taking behavior is demonstrated in a multi-floor office building and evaluated by assessing the comfort of the tour guides, and by comparing the robot's map partitions to those produced by humans.
Date of Conference: 9-13 May 2011