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Semiautonomous Navigation of a Robotic Wheelchair

Summary: Semi­autonomous Navigation
of a Robotic Wheelchair
A.A. Argyros, P. Georgiadis, P. Trahanias, D.P. Tsakiris
Institute of Computer Science ­ FORTH
P.O. Box 1385, GR­711 10, Heraklion, Crete, Greece

argyros, georgiad, trahania, tsakiris¡ @ics.forth.gr
Abstract. The present work considers the development of a wheelchair for people with special needs, which is capable
of navigating semi-autonomously within its workspace. Such a system is expected to prove useful to people with impaired
mobility, who may have limited fine motor control of the upper extremities. Among the implemented behaviors of this
robotic system are the avoidance of obstacles, the motion in the middle of the free space and the following of a moving
target specified by the user (e.g. follow a person walking in front of the wheelchair). The wheelchair is equipped with
sonars, which are used for distance measurement in preselected critical directions, and with a panoramic camera (with
a 360 degree field of view), which is used for following a moving target. After suitably processing the color sequence
of the panoramic images using the color histogram of the desired target, the orientation of the target with respect to the
wheelchair is determined, while its distance is determined by the sonars. The motion control laws developed for the
system use the sensory data and take into account the nonholonomic kinematic constraints of the wheelchair, in order to
guarantee certain desired features of the closed­loop system, such as stability, while preserving their simplicity, for ease
in implementation. An experimental prototype has been developed at ICS­FORTH, based on a commercially­available


Source: Argyros, Antonis - Foundation of Research and Technology, Hellas & Department of Computer Science, University of Crete
Trahanias, Panos - Institute of Computer Science, Foundation of Research and Technology, Hellas


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences