Although it is desirable for wheelchair users to move alone by operating wheelchairs themselves, they are often pushed or accompanied by caregivers, especially in elderly care facilities. In designing robotic wheelchairs, therefore, it is important to consider how to reduce the caregiver's load and support their activities. We particularly focus on communication among wheelchair users and caregivers because face-to-face communication is known to be effective in ameliorating elderly mental health issues. Hence, we propose a maneuverable robotic wheelchair that can move autonomously towards a goal while considering the situation of the accompanying caregiver. Our robotic wheelchair starts to move autonomously towards the goal as soon as the caregiver sets the goal position, such as a bathroom, by utilizing its touch panel interface. While moving towards the goal, the robotic wheelchair autonomously controls its speed and direction of movement to facilitate natural communication between the wheelchair user and the caregiver, by observing the situation of the accompanying caregiver.
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