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A Reference Software Architecture for Social Robots

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Social Robotics poses tough challenges to software designers who are required to take care of difficult architectural drivers like acceptability, trust of robots as well as to guarantee that robots establish a personalised interaction with their users. Moreover, in this context recurrent software design issues such as ensuring interoperability, improving reusability and customizability of software components also arise. Designing and implementing social robotic software architectures is a time-intensive activity requiring multi-disciplinary expertise: this makes difficult to rapidly develop, customise, and personalise robotic solutions. These challenges may be mitigated at design time by choosing certain architectural styles, implementing specific architectural patterns and using particular technologies. Leveraging on our experience in the MARIO project, in this paper we propose a series of principles that social robots may benefit from. These principles lay also the foundations for the design of a reference software architecture for Social Robots. The ultimate goal of this work is to establish a common ground based on a reference software architecture to allow to easily reuse robotic software components in order to rapidly develop, implement, and personalise Social Robots.


Robot Planning in the Real World: Research Challenges and Opportunities

AI Magazine

Recent years have seen significant technical progress on robot planning, enabling robots to compute actions and motions to accomplish challenging tasks involving driving, flying, walking, or manipulating objects. However, robots that have been commercially deployed in the real world typically have no or minimal planning capability. These robots are often manually programmed, teleoperated, or programmed to follow simple rules. Although these robots are highly successful in their respective niches, a lack of planning capabilities limits the range of tasks for which currently deployed robots can be used. In this article, we highlight key conclusions from a workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation in October 2013 that summarize opportunities and key challenges in robot planning and include challenge problems identified in the workshop that can help guide future research toward making robot planning more deployable in the real world.


Contexts for Symbiotic Autonomy: Semantic Mapping, Task Teaching and Social Robotics

AAAI Conferences

Home environments constitute a main target location where to deploy robots, which are expected to help humans in completing their tasks. However, modern robots do not meet yet user's expectations in terms of both knowledge and skills. In this scenario, users can provide robots with knowledge and help them in performing tasks, through a continuous human-robot interaction. This human-robot cooperation setting in shared environments is known as Symbiotic Autonomy or Symbiotic Robotics. In this paper, we address the problem of an effective coexistence of robots and humans, by analyzing the proposed approaches in literature and by presenting our perspective on the topic. In particular, our focus is on specific contexts that can be embraced within Symbiotic Autonomy: Human Augmented Semantic Mapping, Task Teaching and Social Robotics. Finally, we sketch our view on the problem of knowledge acquisition in robotic platforms by introducing three essential aspects that are to be dealt with: environmental, procedural and social knowledge.


A Survey of Behavior Trees in Robotics and AI

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Behavior Trees (BTs) were invented as a tool to enable modular AI in computer games, but have received an increasing amount of attention in the robotics community in the last decade. With rising demands on agent AI complexity, game programmers found that the Finite State Machines (FSM) that they used scaled poorly and were difficult to extend, adapt and reuse. In BTs, the state transition logic is not dispersed across the individual states, but organized in a hierarchical tree structure, with the states as leaves. This has a significant effect on modularity, which in turn simplifies both synthesis and analysis by humans and algorithms alike. These advantages are needed not only in game AI design, but also in robotics, as is evident from the research being done. In this paper we present a comprehensive survey of the topic of BTs in Artificial Intelligence and Robotic applications. The existing literature is described and categorized based on methods, application areas and contributions, and the paper is concluded with a list of open research challenges.


Systems of natural-language-facilitated human-robot cooperation: A review

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Natural-language-facilitated human-robot cooperation (NLC), in which natural language (NL) is used to share knowledge between a human and a robot for conducting intuitive human-robot cooperation (HRC), is continuously developing in the recent decade. Currently, NLC is used in several robotic domains such as manufacturing, daily assistance and health caregiving. It is necessary to summarize current NLC-based robotic systems and discuss the future developing trends, providing helpful information for future NLC research. In this review, we first analyzed the driving forces behind the NLC research. Regarding to a robot s cognition level during the cooperation, the NLC implementations then were categorized into four types {NL-based control, NL-based robot training, NL-based task execution, NL-based social companion} for comparison and discussion. Last based on our perspective and comprehensive paper review, the future research trends were discussed.