Socially aware path planning for a flying robot in close proximity of humans

Hyung Jin Yoon, Christopher Widdowson, Thiago Marinho, Ranxiao Frances Wang, Naira Hovakimyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we present a preliminary motion planning framework for a cyber-physical system consisting of a human and a flying robot in vicinity. The motion planning of the flying robot takes into account the human's safety perception.We aim to determine a parametric model for the human's safety perception based on test data. We use virtual reality as a safe testing environment to collect safety perception data reflected on galvanic skin response (GSR) from the test subjects experiencing a flying robot in their vicinity. The GSR signal contains both meaningful information driven by the interaction with the robot and also disturbances from unknown factors. To address the issue, we use two parametric models to approximate the GSR data: (1) a function of the robot's position and velocity and (2) a random distribution. Intuitively, we need to choose the more likely model given the data.When GSR is statistically independent of the flying robot, then the random distribution should be selected instead of the function of the robot's position and velocity.We implement the intuitive idea under the framework of hidden Markov model (HMM) estimation. As a result, the proposed HMM-based model improves the likelihood compared to the Gaussian noise model, which does not make a distinction between relevant and irrelevant samples due to unknown factors. We also present a numerical optimal path planning method that considers the safety perception model while ensuring spatial separation from the obstacle despite the time discretization. Optimal paths generated using the proposed model result in a reasonably safe distance from the human. In contrast, the trajectories generated by the standard regression model with the Gaussian noise assumption, without consideration of unknown factors, have undesirable shapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3341570
JournalACM Transactions on Cyber-Physical Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Hidden Markov model
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Optimal path planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Socially aware path planning for a flying robot in close proximity of humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this