R6-[SpaceGuide] - Overview

Human and Robot Navigation in Structured Environments


R6-[SpaceGuide] investigates human and robot navigation in structured environments, namely indoor spaces designed by architects. We are particularly interested in the interaction of environmental structure and cognitive processes, largely concentrating on those aspects where a tight collaboration of robotics and human spatial cognition approaches promises both new empirical and theoretical insights as well as technical application.

Spatial ambiguities of the environment are one potential source of error in navigation, for both humans and robots. Structurally and visually similar junctions and building parts can be confused by the navigating agent and this can result in undesired path choices. It is currently a largely open question how humans deal with a lack of architectural differentiation.

Spatial ambiguity also poses challenges to robot navigation tasks. Our objective is to identify and resolve spatial ambiguities in structured indoor environments by placing artificial landmarks. Inspired by the robotics perspective we will also ask how humans can systematically use artificial landmarks for navigating ambiguous building layouts. The direct comparison of human and robot navigation will shed further light on the role of cognitive abilities and strategies in this domain of spatial cognition.

We will also investigate how architectural designers can be supported in designing wayfinding-friendly buildings. The formal methods and tools that we develop can be used to analyze spatial ambiguity in built environments. These tools will be made available for design students to analyze the layout of a building such that potential ambiguities can be identified and avoided early on.