Safe and Autonomous Physical Human-Aware Robot Interaction

SAPHARI will expand and improve functionalities of robotic systems with a principal focus on physical human-robot interaction. The project addresses the essential aspects of safe, intuitive, physical interaction between humans and complex, human-like robotic systems. Within the project, key perceptive and cognitive components will be developed that enable robots to track, understand and predict human motions in a weakly structured dynamic environment.

The goal is to make robotic co-workers a reality, through combination of cognitive reaction, interactive autonomy, human-friendly hardware design and biomechanical analysis. Human behavior and interactions will be tracked and processed in real time, and tasks and motions will be planned accordingly. Safe operation will be enforced in mobile manipulation scenarios with large workspaces through smart fusion of proprioceptive and exteroceptive sensors, sensor-based task planning and human gesture and motion recognition.

Finally, SAPHARI will also include self explaining interaction and communication frameworks to enhance the system usability and make multimodal communication between human and robot seamless.

Our role in the project is very versatile: 1. We develop high-performance perception algorithms for detecting and tracking people, and tools around the robot. 2. We develop high-level control programs that can operate robots around people, while taking into account safety issues, and using the low-level reflexes available in the robot control system developed at the DLR. 3. We participate in the hospital scenario demonstration, where we collaborate with the other groups to integrate perception, planning, and robot reactions.

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