A long-standing goal of AI is to enable robots to plan in the face of uncertain and incomplete information, and to handle task failure intelligently. This paper shows how to achieve this. There are two central ideas. The first idea is to organize the robot's knowledge into three layers: instance knowledge at the bottom, commonsense knowledge above that, and diagnostic knowledge on top. Knowledge in a layer above can be used to modify knowledge in the layer(s) below. The second idea is that the robot should represent not just how its actions change the world, but also what it knows or believes. There are two types of knowledge effects the robot's actions can have: epistemic effects (I believe X because I saw it) and assumptions (I'll assume X to be true). By combining the knowledge layers with the models of knowledge effects, we can simultaneously solve several problems in robotics: (i) task planning and execution under uncertainty; (ii) task planning and execution in open worlds; (iii) explaining task failure; (iv) verifying those explanations. The paper describes how the ideas are implemented in a three-layer architecture on a mobile robot platform. The robot implementation was evaluated in five different experiments on object search, mapping, and room categorization.
In this paper, we study the problem of active visual search (AVS) in large, unknown, or partially known environments. We argue that by making use of uncertain semantics of the environment, a robot tasked with finding an object can devise efficient search strategies that can locate everyday objects at the scale of an entire building floor, which is previously unknown to the robot. To realize this, we present a probabilistic model of the search environment, which allows for prioritizing the search effort to those parts of the environment that are most promising for a specific object type. Further, we describe a method for reasoning about the unexplored part of the environment for goal-directed exploration with the purpose of object search. We demonstrate the validity of our approach by comparing it with two other search systems in terms of search trajectory length and time. First, we implement a greedy coverage-based search strategy that is found in previous work. Second, we let human participants search for objects as an alternative comparison for our method. Our results show that AVS strategies that exploit uncertain semantics of the environment are a very promising idea, and our method pushes the state-of-the-art forward in AVS.Index Terms-Active vision, semantic mapping, visual object search.
Abstract-Objects are integral to a robot's understanding of space. Various tasks such as semantic mapping, pick-andcarry missions or manipulation involve interaction with objects. Previous work in the field largely builds on the assumption that the object in question starts out within the ready sensory reach of the robot. In this work we aim to relax this assumption by providing the means to perform robust and large-scale active visual object search. Presenting spatial relations that describe topological relationships between objects, we then show how to use these to create potential search actions. We introduce a method for efficiently selecting search strategies given probabilities for those relations. Finally we perform experiments to verify the feasibility of our approach.
This article presents the hardware design and software algorithms of RoboSimian, a statically stable quadrupedal robot capable of both dexterous manipulation and versatile mobility in difficult terrain. The robot has generalized limbs and hands capable of mobility and manipulation, along with almost fully hemispherical 3D sensing with passive stereo cameras. The system is semi-autonomous, enabling low-bandwidth, high latency control operated from a standard laptop. Because limbs are used for mobility and manipulation, a single unified mobile manipulation planner is used to generate autonomous behaviors, including walking, sitting, climbing, grasping, and manipulating. The remote operator interface is optimized to designate, parameterize, sequence, and preview behaviors, which are then executed by the robot. RoboSimian placed fifth in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials, demonstrating its ability to perform disaster recovery tasks in degraded human environments.
Abstract-Many robotics tasks require the robot to predict what lies in the unexplored part of the environment. Although much work focuses on building autonomous robots that operate indoors, indoor environments are neither well understood nor analyzed enough in the literature. In this paper, we propose and compare two methods for predicting both the topology and the categories of rooms given a partial map. The methods are motivated by the analysis of two large annotated floor plan data sets corresponding to the buildings of the MIT and KTH campuses. In particular, utilizing graph theory, we discover that local complexity remains unchanged for growing global complexity in real-world indoor environments, a property which we exploit. In total, we analyze 197 buildings, 940 floors and over 38,000 real-world rooms. Such a large set of indoor places has not been investigated before in the previous work. We provide extensive experimental results and show the degree of transferability of spatial knowledge between two geographically distinct locations. We also contribute the KTH data set and the software tools to with it.
Abstract-There are many different approaches to building a system that can engage in autonomous mental development. In this paper, we present an approach based on what we term self-understanding, by which we mean the explicit representation of and reasoning about what a system does and does not know, and how that knowledge changes under action. We present an architecture and a set of representations used in two robot systems that exhibit a limited degree of autonomous mental development, which we term self-extension. The contributions include: representations of gaps and uncertainty for specific kinds of knowledge, and a goal management and planning system for setting and achieving learning goals.
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