Robotics: Science and Systems V

Underwater human-robot interaction via biological motion identification

J. Sattar and G. Dudek


We present an algorithm for underwater robots to visually detect and track human motion. Our objective is to enable human-robot interaction by allowing a robot to follow behind a human moving in (up to) six degrees of freedom. In particular, we have developed a system to allow a robot to detect, track and follow a scuba diver by using frequencydomain detection of biological motion patterns. The motion of biological entities is characterized by combinations of periodic motions which are inherently distinctive. This is especially true of human swimmers. By using the frequency-space response of spatial signals over a number of video frames, we attempt to identify signatures pertaining to biological motion. This technique is applied to track scuba divers in underwater domains, typically with the robot swimming behind the diver. The algorithm is able to detect a range of motions, which include motion directly away from or towards the camera. The motion of the diver relative to the vehicle is then tracked using an Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF), an approach for non-linear estimation. The efficiency of our approach makes it attractive for real-time application onboard our underwater vehicle, and in future applications we intend to track scuba divers real-time with the robot. The paper presents an algorithmic overview of our approach, together with experimental evaluation based on underwater video footage.



    AUTHOR    = {J. Sattar AND G. Dudek},
    TITLE     = {Underwater human-robot interaction via biological motion identification},
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems},
    YEAR      = {2009},
    ADDRESS   = {Seattle, USA},
    MONTH     = {June},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2009.V.024}