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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.


Task-Motion Planning for Navigation in Belief Space

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Task-Motion Planning for Navigation in Belief Space Antony Thomas, Fulvio Mastrogiovanni, and Marco Baglietto Abstract We present an integrated Task-Motion Planning (TMP) framework for navigation in large-scale environment. Autonomous robots operating in real world complex scenarios require planning in the discrete (task) space and the continuous (motion) space. In knowledge intensive domains, on the one hand, a robot has to reason at the highest-level, for example the regions to navigate to; on the other hand, the feasibility of the respective navigation tasks have to be checked at the execution level. This presents a need for motion-planning-aware task planners. We discuss a probabilistically complete approach that leverages this task-motion interaction for navigating in indoor domains, returning a plan that is optimal at the task-level. Furthermore, our framework is intended for motion planning under motion and sensing uncertainty, which is formally known as belief space planning. The underlying methodology is validated with a simulated office environment in Gazebo. In addition, we discuss the limitations and provide suggestions for improvements and future work. 1 Introduction Autonomous robots operating in complex real world scenarios require different levels of planning to execute their tasks. High-level (task) planning helps break down a given set of tasks into a sequence of sub-tasks. Actual execution of each of these sub-tasks would require low-level control actions to generate appropriate robot motions. In fact, the dependency between logical and geometrical aspects is pervasive in both task planning and execution.


Task-assisted Motion Planning in Partially Observable Domains

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Antony Thomas and Sunny Amatya † and Fulvio Mastrogiovanni and Marco Baglietto Abstract -- We present an integrated T ask-Motion Planning framework for robot navigation in belief space. Autonomous robots operating in real world complex scenarios require planning in the discrete (task) space and the continuous (motion) space. T o this end, we propose a framework for integrating belief space reasoning within a hybrid task planner . The expressive power of PDDL combined with heuristic-driven semantic attachments performs the propagated and posterior belief estimates while planning. The underlying methodology for the development of the combined hybrid planner is discussed, providing suggestions for improvements and future work. I NTRODUCTION Autonomous robots operating in complex real world scenarios require different levels of planning to execute their tasks. High-level (task) planning helps break down a given set of tasks into a sequence of sub-tasks, actual execution of each of these sub-tasks would require low-level control actions to generate appropriate robot motions. In fact, the dependency between logical and geometrical aspects is pervasive in both task planning and execution. Hence, planning should be performed in the task-motion or the discrete-continuous space. In recent years, combining high-level task planning with low-level motion planning has been a subject of great interest among the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) community.


RL-RRT: Kinodynamic Motion Planning via Learning Reachability Estimators from RL Policies

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This paper addresses two challenges facing sampling-based kinodynamic motion planning: a way to identify good candidate states for local transitions and the subsequent computationally intractable steering between these candidate states. Through the combination of sampling-based planning, a Rapidly Exploring Randomized Tree (RRT) and an efficient kinodynamic motion planner through machine learning, we propose an efficient solution to long-range planning for kinodynamic motion planning. First, we use deep reinforcement learning to learn an obstacle-avoiding policy that maps a robot's sensor observations to actions, which is used as a local planner during planning and as a controller during execution. Second, we train a reachability estimator in a supervised manner, which predicts the RL policy's time to reach a state in the presence of obstacles. Lastly, we introduce RL-RRT that uses the RL policy as a local planner, and the reachability estimator as the distance function to bias tree-growth towards promising regions. We evaluate our method on three kinodynamic systems, including physical robot experiments. Results across all three robots tested indicate that RL-RRT outperforms state of the art kinodynamic planners in efficiency, and also provides a shorter path finish time than a steering function free method. The learned local planner policy and accompanying reachability estimator demonstrate transferability to the previously unseen experimental environments, making RL-RRT fast because the expensive computations are replaced with simple neural network inference. Video: https://youtu.be/dDMVMTOI8KY


Safe Motion Planning in Unknown Environments: Optimality Benchmarks and Tractable Policies

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

This paper addresses the problem of planning a safe (i.e., collision-free) trajectory from an initial state to a goal region when the obstacle space is a-priori unknown and is incrementally revealed online, e.g., through line-of-sight perception. Despite its ubiquitous nature, this formulation of motion planning has received relatively little theoretical investigation, as opposed to the setup where the environment is assumed known. A fundamental challenge is that, unlike motion planning with known obstacles, it is not even clear what an optimal policy to strive for is. Our contribution is threefold. First, we present a notion of optimality for safe planning in unknown environments in the spirit of comparative (as opposed to competitive) analysis, with the goal of obtaining a benchmark that is, at least conceptually, attainable. Second, by leveraging this theoretical benchmark, we derive a pseudo-optimal class of policies that can seamlessly incorporate any amount of prior or learned information while still guaranteeing the robot never collides. Finally, we demonstrate the practicality of our algorithmic approach in numerical experiments using a range of environment types and dynamics, including a comparison with a state of the art method. A key aspect of our framework is that it automatically and implicitly weighs exploration versus exploitation in a way that is optimal with respect to the information available.


Reports of the AAAI 2010 Conference Workshops

AI Magazine

The AAAI-10 Workshop program was held Sunday and Monday, July 11–12, 2010 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia. The AAAI-10 workshop program included 13 workshops covering a wide range of topics in artificial intelligence. The titles of the workshops were AI and Fun, Bridging the Gap between Task and Motion Planning, Collaboratively-Built Knowledge Sources and Artificial Intelligence, Goal-Directed Autonomy, Intelligent Security, Interactive Decision Theory and Game Theory, Metacognition for Robust Social Systems, Model Checking and Artificial Intelligence, Neural-Symbolic Learning and Reasoning, Plan, Activity, and Intent Recognition, Statistical Relational AI, Visual Representations and Reasoning, and Abstraction, Reformulation, and Approximation. This article presents short summaries of those events.