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Current Advancements on Autonomous Mission Planning and Management Systems: an AUV and UAV perspective

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Analyzing encircling situation is the most crucial part of autonomous adaptation. Since there are many unknown and constantly changing factors in the real environment, momentary adjustment to the consistently alternating circumstances is highly required for addressing autonomy. To respond properly to changing environment, an utterly self-ruling vehicle ought to have the capacity to realize/comprehend its particular position and the surrounding environment. However, these vehicles extremely rely on human involvement to resolve entangled missions that cannot be precisely characterized in advance, which restricts their applications and accuracy. Reducing dependence on human supervision can be achieved by improving level of autonomy. Over the previous decades, autonomy and mission planning have been extensively researched on different structures and diverse conditions; nevertheless, aiming at robust mission planning in extreme conditions, here we provide exhaustive study of UVs autonomy as well as its related properties in internal and external situation awareness. In the following discussion, different difficulties in the scope of AUVs and UAVs will be discussed.


NeBula: Quest for Robotic Autonomy in Challenging Environments; TEAM CoSTAR at the DARPA Subterranean Challenge

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This paper presents and discusses algorithms, hardware, and software architecture developed by the TEAM CoSTAR (Collaborative SubTerranean Autonomous Robots), competing in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. Specifically, it presents the techniques utilized within the Tunnel (2019) and Urban (2020) competitions, where CoSTAR achieved 2nd and 1st place, respectively. We also discuss CoSTAR's demonstrations in Martian-analog surface and subsurface (lava tubes) exploration. The paper introduces our autonomy solution, referred to as NeBula (Networked Belief-aware Perceptual Autonomy). NeBula is an uncertainty-aware framework that aims at enabling resilient and modular autonomy solutions by performing reasoning and decision making in the belief space (space of probability distributions over the robot and world states). We discuss various components of the NeBula framework, including: (i) geometric and semantic environment mapping; (ii) a multi-modal positioning system; (iii) traversability analysis and local planning; (iv) global motion planning and exploration behavior; (i) risk-aware mission planning; (vi) networking and decentralized reasoning; and (vii) learning-enabled adaptation. We discuss the performance of NeBula on several robot types (e.g. wheeled, legged, flying), in various environments. We discuss the specific results and lessons learned from fielding this solution in the challenging courses of the DARPA Subterranean Challenge competition.


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.


Pervasive AI for IoT Applications: Resource-efficient Distributed Artificial Intelligence

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has witnessed a substantial breakthrough in a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) applications and services, spanning from recommendation systems to robotics control and military surveillance. This is driven by the easier access to sensory data and the enormous scale of pervasive/ubiquitous devices that generate zettabytes (ZB) of real-time data streams. Designing accurate models using such data streams, to predict future insights and revolutionize the decision-taking process, inaugurates pervasive systems as a worthy paradigm for a better quality-of-life. The confluence of pervasive computing and artificial intelligence, Pervasive AI, expanded the role of ubiquitous IoT systems from mainly data collection to executing distributed computations with a promising alternative to centralized learning, presenting various challenges. In this context, a wise cooperation and resource scheduling should be envisaged among IoT devices (e.g., smartphones, smart vehicles) and infrastructure (e.g. edge nodes, and base stations) to avoid communication and computation overheads and ensure maximum performance. In this paper, we conduct a comprehensive survey of the recent techniques developed to overcome these resource challenges in pervasive AI systems. Specifically, we first present an overview of the pervasive computing, its architecture, and its intersection with artificial intelligence. We then review the background, applications and performance metrics of AI, particularly Deep Learning (DL) and online learning, running in a ubiquitous system. Next, we provide a deep literature review of communication-efficient techniques, from both algorithmic and system perspectives, of distributed inference, training and online learning tasks across the combination of IoT devices, edge devices and cloud servers. Finally, we discuss our future vision and research challenges.