Incorporating User Inputs in Motion Planning for a Smart Wheelchair

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General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory
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Grassi, Valdir
Okamoto, Jun

We describe the development and assessment of a computer controlled wheelchair equipped with a suite of sensors and a novel interface, called the SMARTCHAIR. The main focus of this paper is a shared control framework which allows the human operator to interact with the chair while it is performing an autonomous task. At the highest level, the autonomous system is able to plan paths using high level deliberative navigation behaviors depending on destinations or waypoints commanded by the user. The user is able to locally modify or override previously commanded autonomous behaviors or plans. This is possible because of our hierarchical control strategy that combines three independent sources of control inputs: deliberative plans obtained from maps and user commands, reactive behaviors generated by stimuli from the environment, and user-initiated commands that might arise during the execution of a plan or behavior. The framework we describe ensures the user's safety while allowing the user to be in complete control of a potentially autonomous system.

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Copyright 2004 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2004 (ICRA 2004), Volume 2, pages 2043-2048. Publisher URL: This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.
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