Carnegie Mellon University
Natural Person-Following Behavior for Social Robots

Rachel Kirby, Jodi Forlizzi, and Reid Simmons
Proceedings of Human-Robot Interaction, March, 2007, pp. 17-24.

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We are developing robots with socially appropriate spatial skills not only to travel around or near people, but also to accompany people side-by-side. As a step toward this goal, we are investigating the social perceptions of a robot's movement as it follows behind a person. This paper discusses our laser-based person-tracking method and two different approaches to person-following: direction-following and path-following. While both algorithms have similar characteristics in terms of tracking performance and following distances, participants in a pilot study rated the direction-following behavior as significantly more human-like and natural than the path-following behavior. We argue that the path-following method may still be more appropriate in some situations, and we propose that the ideal person-following behavior may be a hybrid approach, with the robot automatically selecting which method to use.

human-robot interaction, social robots, person tracking, person following

Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Vision and Autonomous Systems Center and Quality of Life Technology Center
Associated Lab(s) / Group(s): Reliable Autonomous Systems Lab and Human-Robot Interaction Group
Associated Project(s): Social Robots and Human-Robot Interaction
Number of pages: 8

Text Reference
Rachel Kirby, Jodi Forlizzi, and Reid Simmons, "Natural Person-Following Behavior for Social Robots," Proceedings of Human-Robot Interaction, March, 2007, pp. 17-24.

BibTeX Reference
   author = "Rachel Kirby and Jodi Forlizzi and Reid Simmons",
   title = "Natural Person-Following Behavior for Social Robots",
   booktitle = "Proceedings of Human-Robot Interaction",
   pages = "17-24",
   month = "March",
   year = "2007",