Articulated Object Interaction in Unknown Scenes with Whole-Body Mobile Manipulation

Mittal, Mayank, Hoeller, David, Farshidian, Farbod, Hutter, Marco, Garg, Animesh Artificial Intelligence 

A kitchen assistant needs to operate human-scale objects, such as cabinets and ovens, in unmapped environments with dynamic obstacles. Autonomous interactions in such real-world environments require integrating dexterous manipulation and fluid mobility. While mobile manipulators in different form-factors provide an extended workspace, their real-world adoption has been limited. This limitation is in part due to two main reasons: 1) inability to interact with unknown human-scale objects such as cabinets and ovens, and 2) inefficient coordination between the arm and the mobile base. Executing a high-level task for general objects requires a perceptual understanding of the object as well as adaptive whole-body control among dynamic obstacles. In this paper, we propose a two-stage architecture for autonomous interaction with large articulated objects in unknown environments. The first stage uses a learned model to estimate the articulated model of a target object from an RGB-D input and predicts an action-conditional sequence of states for interaction. The second stage comprises of a whole-body motion controller to manipulate the object along the generated kinematic plan. We show that our proposed pipeline can handle complicated static and dynamic kitchen settings. Moreover, we demonstrate that the proposed approach achieves better performance than commonly used control methods in mobile manipulation. For additional material, please check: .

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