Previous studies showed the existence of implicit interaction rules shared by human walkers when crossing each other. Especially, each walker contributes to the collision avoidance task and the crossing order, as set at the beginning, is preserved along the interaction. This order determines the adaptation strategy: the first arrived increases his/her advance by slightly accelerating and changing his/her heading, whereas the second one slows down and moves in the opposite direction. In this study, we analyzed the behavior of human walkers crossing the trajectory of a mobile robot that was programmed to reproduce this human avoidance strategy. In contrast with a previous study, which showed that humans mostly prefer to give the way to a non-reactive robot, we observed similar behaviors between human-human avoidance and human-robot avoidance when the robot replicates the human interaction rules. We discuss this result in relation with the importance of controlling robots in a human-like way in order to ease their cohabitation with humans.
Keywords: Collision avoidance; Gait adaptation; Human-robot interaction; Locomotion; Mobile robot.
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