Mobility in an effective and socially-compliant manner is an essential yet challenging task for robots operating in crowded spaces. Recent works have shown the power of deep reinforcement learning techniques to learn socially cooperative policies. However, their cooperation ability deteriorates as the crowd grows since they typically relax the problem as a one-way Human-Robot interaction problem. In this work, we want to go beyond first-order Human-Robot interaction and more explicitly model Crowd-Robot Interaction (CRI). We propose to (i) rethink pairwise interactions with a self-attention mechanism, and (ii) jointly model Human-Robot as well as Human-Human interactions in the deep reinforcement learning framework. Our model captures the Human-Human interactions occurring in dense crowds that indirectly affects the robot’s anticipation capability. Our proposed attentive pooling mechanism learns the collective importance of neighboring humans with respect to their future states. Various experiments demonstrate that our model can anticipate human dynamics and navigate in crowds with time efficiency, outperforming state-of-the-art methods.
In the video below, we briefly introduced the challenges in the crowd navigation, our contributions, and our proposed method. In additional, we showed some simulation and real-world experiment videos.