SmartWheeler – A smart robotic wheelchair platform
Martin Gerdzhev · Joelle Pineau · Angus Leigh · Andrew Sutcliffe

Wed Dec 10th 07:00 -- 11:59 PM @ Level 2, room 230B
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This demo features an interactive autonomous wheelchair robot, called the SmartWheeler, designed with the aim of increasing the autonomy and safety of individuals with severe mobility impairments. The robot platform consists of a commercial power wheelchair, modified to be controlled by an on-board computer. It is further equipped with laser range finders and a Kinect sensor used for sensing the environment and building a map. The wheelchair can be given high-level commands (e.g. setting a location goal on a map), or lower-level commands (e.g. move forward, turn left/right, etc.) via a touchscreen interface. The commands are then interpreted and executed autonomously and safely by the robot, by taking into account static and dynamic obstacles in the environment. Several of the robot's software components rely on machine learning methods. One of the most recent developments is a new algorithm for detecting, tracking and following one or multiple people in real time using planar laser scans acquired onboard the robot.

Author Information

Martin Gerdzhev (McGill University)
Joelle Pineau (McGill University)

Joelle Pineau is an Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University where she co-directs the Reasoning and Learning Lab. She also leads the Facebook AI Research lab in Montreal, Canada. She holds a BASc in Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and an MSc and PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Pineau's research focuses on developing new models and algorithms for planning and learning in complex partially-observable domains. She also works on applying these algorithms to complex problems in robotics, health care, games and conversational agents. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research and the Journal of Machine Learning Research and is currently President of the International Machine Learning Society. She is a recipient of NSERC's E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2018), a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), a Senior Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and in 2016 was named a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists by the Royal Society of Canada.

Angus Leigh (McGill University)
Andrew Sutcliffe (McGill University)

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