Probabilistic Human Action Prediction and Wait-sensitive Planning for Responsive Human-robot Collaboration
Hawkins, Kelsey P.
Bobic, Aaron F.
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A novel representation for the human component of multi-step, human-robot collaborative activity is presented. The goal of the system is to predict in a probabilistic manner when the human will perform different subtasks that may require robot assistance. The representation is a graphical model where the start and end of each subtask is explicitly represented as a probabilistic variable conditioned upon prior intervals. This formulation allows the inclusion of uncertain perceptual detections as evidence to drive the predictions. Next, given a cost function that describes the penalty for different wait times, we develop a planning algorithm which selects robot-actions that minimize the expected cost based upon the distribution over predicted human-action timings. We demonstrate the approach in assembly tasks where the robot must provide the right part at the right time depending upon the choices made by the human operator during the assembly.