Reactively planning a path in a dynamic and unstructured environment is a key challenge for mobile robots and autonomous systems. Planning should consider factors including the long-term and short-term prediction, current environmental situation, and human context. In this chapter, we present a novel robotic path-planning method with human activity information in a large-scale three-dimensional (3D) environment. In the learning stage, this method uses human motion detection results and preliminary environmental information to build a long-term context model with a hidden Markov model (HMM) to describe and predict human activities in the environment. In the application stage, when a robot detects humans in the environment, it first uses the long-term context model to generate impedance areas in the environment. Then, the robot searches each area of the environment to find paths between key locations, such as escalators, to generate a Reactive Key Cost Map (RKCM), whose vertexes are those key locations and edges are generated paths. The graphs of all areas are connected using the key nodes in the subgraphs to build a global graph of the whole environment. Finally, the robot can reactively plan a path based on the current environmental situation and predicted human activities. This method enables robots to navigate robustly in a large-scale 3D environment with regular human activities, and it significantly reduces computing workload with proposed RKCM.
Part of the book: Motion Tracking and Gesture Recognition