The CROWDBOT project aims for tight navigation of mobile robots in a dense crowd and thus physical interaction (both contact and non-contact) between a robot and human crowd is anticipated. This report addresses our approach for modeling, analysis and experimentation of robot-human physical interaction. Here the term “physical” means that a robot will come close (i.e. non-contact) or in contact with a human or humans while it navigates and moves amongst them. Hence, physical interaction is all about physics, mechanics, locomotion and possibly bodily harm. The other related term “social interaction” refers to interpersonal, cultural and give-and-take exchange between two entities to avoid collision. This topic is outside the scope of this report. Here, we dedicate solely to the topic of robot-human physical interaction, also commonly annotated in the literature as pHRI (physical Human-Robot Interaction).
The report is divided into three main sections: 1) modeling of physical interactions, 2) bibliographic study of physical interactions and 3) case studies of physical interactions for robots that apply specifically to CROWDBOT.