Collaborating Authors

A Survey of Behavior Trees in Robotics and AI 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.

Sony Partners With CMU to Develop Food Prep and Delivery Robots

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

Last week, Sony and Carnegie Mellon University announced a collaboration "on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics research." Usually, these announcements pretty much just end there, with the implication being that giant corporation X will support academic research institution Y by funding ongoing research or a string of new initiatives. This Sony/CMU announcement is a bit more exciting because of how specific it is: The project will be about food. Researchers will focus on defining the domain of food ordering, preparation, and delivery. Initially, they will build upon existing manipulation robots and mobile robots, and will plan on developing new domain-specific robots for predefined food preparation items and for mobility in a limited confined space.

Video Friday: TALOS Humanoid Robot, and More

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We'll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!): Let us know if you have suggestions for next week, and enjoy today's videos. With all the hype about SpotMini recently, it's a good time to take a look back at another quadruped that Boston Dynamics helped develop. This system is the first of its kind that can automatically keep a cluttered room neat and tidy at a practical level, something that has been difficult to achieve using conventional robot system.

US Air Force funds Explainable-AI for UAV tech


Z Advanced Computing, Inc. (ZAC) of Potomac, MD announced on August 27 that it is funded by the US Air Force, to use ZAC's detailed 3D image recognition technology, based on Explainable-AI, for drones (unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV) for aerial image/object recognition. ZAC is the first to demonstrate Explainable-AI, where various attributes and details of 3D (three dimensional) objects can be recognized from any view or angle. "With our superior approach, complex 3D objects can be recognized from any direction, using only a small number of training samples," said Dr. Saied Tadayon, CTO of ZAC. "For complex tasks, such as drone vision, you need ZAC's superior technology to handle detailed 3D image recognition." "You cannot do this with the other techniques, such as Deep Convolutional Neural Networks, even with an extremely large number of training samples. That's basically hitting the limits of the CNNs," continued Dr. Bijan Tadayon, CEO of ZAC.