Effective Semi-autonomous Telepresence
We investigate mobile telepresence robots to address the lack of mobility in traditional videoconferencing. To operate these robots, intuitive and powerful interfaces are needed. We present CoBot-2, an indoor mobile telepresence robot with autonomous capabilities, and a browser-based interface to control it. CoBot-2 and its web interface have been used extensively to remotely attend meetings and to guide local visitors to destinations in the building. From the web interface, users can control CoBot-2’s camera, and drive with either directional commands, by clicking on a point on the floor of the camera image, or by clicking on a point in a map. We conduct a user study in which we examine preferences among the three control interfaces for novice users. The results suggest that the three control interfaces together cover well the control preferences of different users, and that users often prefer to use a combination of control interfaces. CoBot-2 also serves as a tour guide robot, and has been demonstrated to safely navigate through dense crowds in a long-term trial.