AUTONOMOUS NAVIGATION AND ROOM CATEGORIZATION FOR AN ASSISTANT ROBOT
Globally, there are more than 727 million people aged 65 years and older in the world, and the elderly population is expected to grow more than double in the next three decades. Families search for affordable and quality care for their senior loved ones will have an effect on the care-giving profession. A personal robot assistant could help with daily tasks such as carrying things for them and keeping track of their routines, relieving the burdens of human caregivers. Performing mentioned tasks usually requires the robot to autonomously navi- gate. An autonomous navigation robot should collect the knowledge of its surroundings by mapping the environment, find its position in the map and calculate trajectories by avoiding obstacles. Furthermore, to assign specific tasks which are in various locations, robot has to categorize the rooms in addition to memorizing the respective coordinates. In this research, methods have been developed to achieve autonomous navigation and room categorization of a mobile robot within indoor environments. A Simultaneously Localization and Map- ping (SLAM) algorithm has been used to build the map and localize the robot. Gmapping, a method of SLAM, was applied by utilizing an odometry and a 2D Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor. The trajectory to achieve the goal position by an optimal path is provided by path planning algorithms, which is divided into two parts namely, global and local planners. Global path planning has been produced by DIJKSTRA and local path planning by Dynamic Window Approach (DWA). While exploring new environments with Gmapping and trajectory planning algorithms, rooms in the generated map were classified by a powerful deep learning algorithm called Convolutional Neural Network (CNN). Once the environment is explored, the robots localization in the 2D space is done by Adaptive Monte Carlo Localization (AMCL). To utilize and test the methods above, Gazebo software by The Robotic Operating System (ROS) was used and simulations were performed prior to real life experiments. After the trouble-shooting and feedback acquired from simulations, the robot was able to perform above tasks and later tested in various indoor environments. The environment was mapped successfully by Gmapping and the robot was located within the map by AMCL. Compared to the theoretical maximum efficient path, the robot was able to plan the trajectory with acceptable deviation. In addition, the room names were classified with minimum of 85% accuracy by CNN algorithm. Autonomous navigation results show that the robot can assist elderly people in their home environment by successfully exploring, categorizing and navigating between the rooms.