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Distributed Mission Planning of Complex Tasks for Heterogeneous Multi-Robot Teams

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In this paper, we propose a distributed multi-stage optimization method for planning complex missions for heterogeneous multi-robot teams. This class of problems involves tasks that can be executed in different ways and are associated with cross-schedule dependencies that constrain the schedules of the different robots in the system. The proposed approach involves a multi-objective heuristic search of the mission, represented as a hierarchical tree that defines the mission goal. This procedure outputs several favorable ways to fulfill the mission, which directly feed into the next stage of the method. We propose a distributed metaheuristic based on evolutionary computation to allocate tasks and generate schedules for the set of chosen decompositions. The method is evaluated in a simulation setup of an automated greenhouse use case, where we demonstrate the method's ability to adapt the planning strategy depending on the available robots and the given optimization criteria.


Rearrangement: A Challenge for Embodied AI

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We describe a framework for research and evaluation in Embodied AI. Our proposal is based on a canonical task: Rearrangement. A standard task can focus the development of new techniques and serve as a source of trained models that can be transferred to other settings. In the rearrangement task, the goal is to bring a given physical environment into a specified state. The goal state can be specified by object poses, by images, by a description in language, or by letting the agent experience the environment in the goal state. We characterize rearrangement scenarios along different axes and describe metrics for benchmarking rearrangement performance. To facilitate research and exploration, we present experimental testbeds of rearrangement scenarios in four different simulation environments. We anticipate that other datasets will be released and new simulation platforms will be built to support training of rearrangement agents and their deployment on physical systems.


CAMPs: Learning Context-Specific Abstractions for Efficient Planning in Factored MDPs

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Meta-planning, or learning to guide planning from experience, is a promising approach to improving the computational cost of planning. A general meta-planning strategy is to learn to impose constraints on the states considered and actions taken by the agent. We observe that (1) imposing a constraint can induce context-specific independences that render some aspects of the domain irrelevant, and (2) an agent can take advantage of this fact by imposing constraints on its own behavior. These observations lead us to propose the context-specific abstract Markov decision process (CAMP), an abstraction of a factored MDP that affords efficient planning. We then describe how to learn constraints to impose so the CAMP optimizes a trade-off between rewards and computational cost. Our experiments consider five planners across four domains, including robotic navigation among movable obstacles (NAMO), robotic task and motion planning for sequential manipulation, and classical planning. We find planning with learned CAMPs to consistently outperform baselines, including Stilman's NAMO-specific algorithm. Video: https://youtu.be/wTXt6djcAd4


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-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.