Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Computer Science


Computer Science


Dr. John Seng


Robots are no longer constrained to cages in factories and are increasingly taking on roles alongside humans. Before robots can accomplish their tasks in these dynamic environments, they must be able to navigate while avoiding collisions with pedestrians or other robots. Humans are able to move through crowds by anticipating the movements of other pedestrians and how their actions will influence others; developing a method for predicting pedestrian trajectories is a critical component of a robust robot navigation system. A current state-of-the-art approach for predicting pedestrian trajectories is Social-LSTM, which is a recurrent neural network that incorporates information about neighboring pedestrians to learn how people move cooperatively around each other. This thesis extends and modifies that model to output parameters for a multimodal distribution, which better captures the uncertainty inherent in pedestrian movements. Additionally, four novel architectures for representing neighboring pedestrians are proposed; these models are more general than current trajectory prediction systems and have fewer hyper-parameters. In both simulations and real-world datasets, the multimodal extension significantly increases the accuracy of trajectory prediction. One of the new neighbor representation architectures achieves state-of-the-art results while reducing the number of both parameters and hyper-parameters compared to existing solutions. Two techniques for incorporating the trajectory predictions into a planning system are also developed and evaluated on a real-world dataset. Both techniques plan routes that include fewer near-collisions than algorithms that do not use trajectory predictions. Finally, a Python library for Agent-Based-Modeling and crowd simulation is presented to aid in future research.

Included in

Robotics Commons