CROWDBOT (aka “Safe Robot Navigation in Dense Crowds”) is a EUR 4M Horizon 2020 consortium of 5 universities and 2 industrial partners: INRIA, France (co-ordinator); EPFL, Switzerland; ETHZ, Switzerland; RWTH, Germany; UCL, UK; SBR Europe, France; and LOC GmbH, Germany. CROWDBOT will enable mobile robots to navigate autonomously and assist humans in crowded areas, rather than simply stopping when the going gets tough.
The project will fill the gap in knowledge about close interactions between robots and humans during navigation tasks. In particular, CROWDBOT considers three realistic scenarios: 1) a semi-autonomous wheelchair that will adapt its trajectory to unexpected movements of people in its vicinity; 2) the commercially available Pepper robot that will navigate in dense crowds, whilst actively approaching people to assist them; 3) the cuyBot (under-development) that will adapt to compact crowds, as well as to being touched and pushed by people.
Dr Tom Carlson (PI, Aspire Create) and Dr Cathy Holloway will lead a core workpackage on the co-design and evaluation of the CROWDBOT system, as well as developing one of the demonstrators: a crowd-aware smart wheelchair.