Automatic Waypoint Generation to Improve Robot Navigation Through Narrow Spaces

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In domestic robotics, passing through narrow areas becomes critical for safe and effective robot navigation. Due to factors like sensor noise or miscalibration, even if the free space is sufficient for the robot to pass through, it may not see enough clearance to navigate, hence limiting its operational space. An approach to facing this is to insert waypoints strategically placed within the problematic areas in the map, which are considered by the robot planner when generating a trajectory and help to successfully traverse them. This is typically carried out by a human operator either by relying on their experience or by trial-and-error. In this paper, we present an automatic procedure to perform this task that: (i) detects problematic areas in the map and (ii) generates a set of auxiliary navigation waypoints from which more suitable trajectories can be generated by the robot planner. Our proposal, fully compatible with the robotic operating system (ROS), has been successfully applied to robots deployed in different houses within the H2020 MoveCare project. Moreover, we have performed extensive simulations with four state-of-the-art robots operating within real maps. The results reveal significant improvements in the number of successful navigations for the evaluated scenarios, demonstrating its efficacy in realistic situations.
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Mobile robots, Robot navigation, Robot localization, Robot deployment, Waypoint generation, Navigation assistant, Artificial Intelligence, Map, Inteligencia artificial, Mapa, Robótica
Moreno FA, Monroy J, Ruiz-Sarmiento JR, Galindo C, Gonzalez-Jimenez J. Automatic Waypoint Generation to Improve Robot Navigation Through Narrow Spaces. Sensors. 2019 Dec 31;20(1):240