Wheelchair Navigation: Automatically Adapting to Evolving Environments
Power wheelchairs can increase independence by supporting the mobility of their users. However, severe disabilities of users can render controlling the wheelchair difficult, if not impossible, especially over longer periods of time. This paper describes a proposal for research into techniques that would improve the experience and quality of life of wheelchair users by reducing the cognitive burden introduced by repetitive and complicated navigation tasks and manoeuvres. This will be achieved by sharing the control between the user and an autonomous controller. A number of techniques will be used to achieve this aim. Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) and topological mapping will be used for navigation between rooms while Computer Vision techniques will allow the (semi) automatic recognition of places in the user’s home, based on the detection and categorization of objects. Finally, medium to high level automation will be provided. This includes automatic and transparent assistance with tasks such as navigating through doorways but also autonomous navigation to specific locations using high level constructs (“take me to the kitchen table”).
KeywordsWheelchair Computer vision SLAM Shared control Middleware
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