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When robots serve in urban areas such as shopping malls, they will often be required to approach people in order to initiate service. This paper presents a technique for human-robot interaction that enables a robot to approach people who are passing through an environment. For successful approach, our proposed planner first searches for a target person at public distance zones anticipating his/her future position and behavior. It chooses a person who does not seem busy and can be reached from a frontal direction. Once the robot successfully approaches the person within the social distance zone, it identifies the person's reaction and provides a timely response by coordinating its body orientation. The system was tested in a shopping mall and compared with a simple approaching method. The result demonstrates a significant improvement in approaching performance; the simple method was only 35.1% successful, whereas the proposed technique showed a success rate of 55.9%.
Date of Publication: April 2013