Computer Science - Robotics Publications (50)


Computer Science - Robotics Publications

With the increased application of model-based whole-body control methods in legged robots, there has been an resurgence of interest in whole-body system identification strategies and adaptive control. An important class of methods relates to the identification of inertial parameters for rigid-body systems. That is, the mass, first mass moment (related to center of mass location), and 3D rotational inertia tensor for each link. Read More

This paper aims to implement Object-Oriented Markov Decision Process (OO-MDPs) for goal planning and navigation of robot in an indoor environment. We use the OO-MDP representation of the environment which is a natural way of modeling the environment based on objects and their interactions. The paper aims to extend the well known Taxi domain example which has been tested on grid world environment to robotics domain with larger state-spaces. Read More

Visual scene decomposition into semantic entities is one of the major challenges when creating a reliable object grasping system. Recently, we introduced a bottom-up hierarchical clustering approach which is able to segment objects and parts in a scene. In this paper, we introduce a transform from such a segmentation into a corresponding, hierarchical saliency function. Read More

Current self-driving car systems operate well in sunny weather but struggle in adverse conditions. One of the most commonly encountered adverse conditions involves water on the road caused by rain, sleet, melting snow or flooding. While some advances have been made in using conventional RGB camera and LIDAR technology for detecting water hazards, other sources of information such as polarization offer a promising and potentially superior approach to this problem in terms of performance and cost. Read More

Series elastic actuators (SEA) are playing an increasingly important role in the fields of physical human-robot interaction. This paper focuses on the modeling and control of a cable-driven SEA. First, the scheme of the cable-driven SEA has been proposed, and a velocity controlled DC motor has been used as its power source. Read More

We model Human-Robot-Interaction (HRI) scenarios as linear dynamical systems and use Model Predictive Control (MPC) with mixed integer constraints to generate human-aware control policies. We motivate the approach by presenting two scenarios. The first involves an assistive robot that aims to maximize productivity while minimizing the human's workload, and the second involves a listening humanoid robot that manages its eye contact behavior to maximize "connection" and minimize social "awkwardness" with the human during the interaction. Read More

Cloud robotics is a field of robotics that attempts to invoke Cloud technologies such as Cloud computing, Cloud storage, and other Internet technologies centered around the benefits of converged infrastructure and shared services for robotics. In a few short years, Cloud robotics as a newly emerged field has already received much research and industrial attention. The use of the Cloud for robotics and automation brings some potential benefits largely ameliorating the performance of robotic systems. Read More

This paper presents the concept of an In situ Fabricator, a mobile robot intended for on-site manufacturing, assembly and digital fabrication. We present an overview of a prototype system, its capabilities, and highlight the importance of high-performance control, estimation and planning algorithms for achieving desired construction goals. Next, we detail on two architectural application scenarios: first, building a full-size undulating brick wall, which required a number of repositioning and autonomous localisation manoeuvres. Read More

Grasping is a complex process involving knowledge of the object, the surroundings, and of oneself. While humans are able to integrate and process all of the sensory information required for performing this task, equipping machines with this capability is an extremely challenging endeavor. In this paper, we investigate how deep learning techniques can allow us to translate high-level concepts such as motor imagery to the problem of robotic grasp synthesis. Read More

In the literature on robotics and multibody dynamics, the concept of average angular velocity has received considerable attention in recent years. We address the question of whether the average angular velocity defines an orientation framethat depends only on the current robot configuration and provide a simple algebraic condition to check whether this holds. In the language of geometric mechanics, this condition corresponds to requiring the flatness of the mechanical connection associated to the robotic system. Read More

This paper extends recent work in interactive machine learning (IML) focused on effectively incorporating human feedback. We show how control and feedback signals complement each other in systems which model human reward. We demonstrate that simultaneously incorporating human control and feedback signals can improve interactive robotic systems' performance on a self-mirrored movement control task where an RL-agent controlled right arm attempts to match the preprogrammed movement pattern of the left arm. Read More

In this paper, a control approach called Artificial Neural Tissue (ANT) is applied to multirobot excavation for lunar base preparation tasks including clearing landing pads and burying of habitat modules. We show for the first time, a team of autonomous robots excavating a terrain to match a given 3D blueprint. Constructing mounds around landing pads will provide physical shielding from debris during launch/landing. Read More

It is a crucial problem in robotics field to cage an object using robots like multifingered hand. However the problem what is the caging for general geometrical objects and robots has not been well-described in mathematics though there were many rigorous studies on the methods how to cage an object by certain robots. In this article, we investigate the caging problem more mathematically and describe the problem in terms of recursion of the simple euclidean moves. Read More

In many human-in-the-loop robotic applications such as robot-assisted surgery and remote teleoperation, predicting the intended motion of the human operator may be useful for successful implementation of shared control, guidance virtual fixtures, and predictive control. Developing computational models of human movements is a critical foundation for such motion prediction frameworks. With this motivation, we present a computational framework for modeling reaching movements in the presence of obstacles. Read More

To ease the development of robot learning in industry, two conditions need to be fulfilled. Manipulators must be able to learn high accuracy and precision tasks while being safe for workers in the factory. In this paper, we extend previously submitted work which consists in rapid learning of local high accuracy behaviors. Read More

In this paper, we propose a software abstraction layer to simplify the design and synthesis of whole-body controllers without making any preliminary assumptions on the control law to be implemented. The main advantage of the proposed library is the decoupling of the control software from implementation details, which are related to the robotic platform. Furthermore, the resulting code is more clean and concise than ad-hoc code, as it focuses only on the implementation of the control law. Read More

In this paper, we study extensions to the Gaussian Processes (GPs) continuous occupancy mapping problem. There are two classes of occupancy mapping problems that we particularly investigate. The first problem is related to mapping under pose uncertainty and how to propagate pose estimation uncertainty into the map inference. Read More

To participate in the Outback Medical Express UAV Challenge 2016, a vehicle was designed and tested that can hover precisely, take-off and land vertically, fly fast forward efficiently and use computer vision to locate a person and a suitable landing location. A rotor blade was designed that can deliver sufficient thrust in hover, while still being efficient in fast forward flight. Energy measurements and windtunnel tests were performed. Read More

The introduction of robots into our society will also introduce new concerns about personal privacy. In order to study these concerns, we must do human-subject experiments that involve measuring privacy-relevant constructs. This paper presents a taxonomy of privacy constructs based on a review of the privacy literature. Read More

This paper investigates efficient techniques to collect and concentrate an under-actuated particle swarm despite obstacles. Concentrating a swarm of particles is of critical importance in health-care for targeted drug delivery, where micro-scale particles must be steered to a goal location. Individual particles must be small in order to navigate through micro-vasculature, but decreasing size brings new challenges. Read More

This technical report addresses the problem of optimal surveillance of the route followed by a dynamic parade using a team of aerial robots. The dynamic parade is considered to take place within an urban environment, it is discretized and at every iteration, the algorithm computes the best possible placing of the aerial robotic team members, subject to their camera model and the occlusions arising from the environment. As the parade route is only as well covered as its least-covered point, the optimization objective is to place the aerial robots such that they maximize the minimum coverage over the points in the route at every time instant of it. Read More

Localization is a key requirement for mobile robot autonomy and human-robot interaction. Vision-based localization is accurate and flexible, however, it incurs a high computational burden which limits its application on many resource-constrained platforms. In this paper, we address the problem of performing real-time localization in large-scale 3D point cloud maps of ever-growing size. Read More

We tackle the issue of finding a good policy when the number of policy updates is limited. This is done by approximating the expected policy reward as a sequence of concave lower bounds which can be efficiently maximized, drastically reducing the number of policy updates required to achieve good performance. We also extend existing methods to negative rewards, enabling the use of control variates. Read More

Within this paper, the problem of 3D structural inspection path planning for distributed infrastructure using aerial robots that are subject to time constraints is addressed. The proposed algorithm handles varying spatial properties of the infrastructure facilities, accounts for their different importance and exploration function and computes an overall inspection path of high inspection reward while respecting the robot endurance or mission time constraints as well as the vehicle dynamics and sensor limitations. To achieve its goal, it employs an iterative, 3-step optimization strategy at each iteration of which it first randomly samples a set of possible structures to visit, subsequently solves the derived traveling salesman problem and computes the travel costs, while finally it samples and assigns inspection times to each structure and evaluates the total inspection reward. Read More

Currently grip control during in-hand manipulation is usually modeled as part of a monolithic task, yielding complex controllers based on force control specialized for their situations. Such non-modular and specialized control approaches render the generalization of these controllers to new in-hand manipulation tasks difficult. Clearly, a grip control approach that generalizes well between several tasks would be preferable. Read More

This work presents a novel marriage of Swarm Robotics and Brain Computer Interface technology to produce an interface which connects a user to a swarm of robots. The proposed interface enables the user to control the swarm's size and motion employing just thoughts and eye movements. The thoughts and eye movements are recorded as electrical signals from the scalp by an off-the-shelf Electroencephalogram (EEG) headset. Read More

The three bio-inspired strategies that have been used for balance recovery of biped robots are the ankle, hip and stepping Strategies. However, there are several cases for a biped robot where stepping is not possible, e. g. Read More

The objective of this work is to develop a data processing system that can automatically generate waypoints for navigation of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to inspect surfaces of structures like buildings and bridges. The input includes data recorded by two 2D laser scanners, orthogonally mounted on the UAV, and an inertial measurement unit (IMU). To achieve the goal, algorithms are developed to process the data collected. Read More

While most approaches to semantic reasoning have focused on improving performance, in this paper we argue that computational times are very important in order to enable real time applications such as autonomous driving. Towards this goal, we present an approach to joint classification, detection and semantic segmentation via a unified architecture where the encoder is shared amongst the three tasks. Our approach is very simple, can be trained end-to-end and performs extremely well in the challenging KITTI dataset, outperforming the state-of-the-art in the road segmentation task. Read More

Flow visualisations are essential to better understand the unsteady aerodynamics of flapping wing flight. The issues inherent to animal experiments, such as poor controllability and unnatural flapping when tethered, can be avoided by using robotic flyers. Such an approach holds a promise for a more systematic and repeatable methodology for flow visualisation, through a better controlled flight. Read More

Many important geometric estimation problems take the form of synchronization over the special Euclidean group: estimate the values of a set of poses given a set of relative measurements between them. This problem is typically formulated as a nonconvex maximum-likelihood estimation that is computationally hard to solve in general. Nevertheless, in this paper we present an algorithm that is able to efficiently recover certifiably globally optimal solutions of the special Euclidean synchronization problem in a non-adversarial noise regime. Read More

In this paper we propose a new family of RRT based algorithms, named RRT+ , that are able to find faster solutions in high-dimensional configuration spaces compared to other existing RRT variants by finding paths in lower dimensional subspaces of the configuration space. The method can be easily applied to complex hyper-redundant systems and can be adapted by other RRT based planners. We introduce RRT+ and develop some variants, called PrioritizedRRT+ , PrioritizedRRT+-Connect, and PrioritizedBidirectionalT-RRT+ , that use the new sampling technique and we show that our method provides faster results than the corresponding original algorithms. Read More

Deep-learning has dramatically changed the world overnight. It greatly boosted the development of visual perception, object detection, and speech recognition, etc. That was attributed to the multiple convolutional processing layers for abstraction of learning representations from massive data. Read More

Miniature Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAV) are very suitable for flying in indoor environments, but autonomous navigation is challenging due to their strict hardware limitations. This paper presents a highly efficient computer vision algorithm called Edge-FS for the determination of velocity and depth. It runs at 20 Hz on a 4 g stereo camera with an embedded STM32F4 microprocessor (168 MHz, 192 kB) and uses feature histograms to calculate optical flow and stereo disparity. Read More

Reward function design and exploration time are arguably the biggest obstacles to the deployment of reinforcement learning (RL) agents in the real world. In many real-world tasks, designing a suitable reward function takes considerable manual engineering and often requires additional and potentially visible sensors to be installed just to measure whether the task has been executed successfully. Furthermore, many interesting tasks consist of multiple steps that must be executed in sequence. Read More

The detection of small road hazards, such as lost cargo, is a vital capability for self-driving cars. We tackle this challenging and rarely addressed problem with a vision system that leverages appearance, contextual as well as geometric cues. To utilize the appearance and contextual cues, we propose a new deep learning-based obstacle detection framework. Read More

In this paper a search algorithm is proposed to find a sub optimal path for a non-holonomic system. For this purpose the algorithm starts sampling the front part of the vehicle and moves towards the destination with a cost function. The bicycle model is used to define the non-holonomic system and a stability analysis with different integration methods is performed on the dynamics of the system. Read More

Attaining animal-like legged locomotion on rough outdoor terrain with sparse foothold affordances -a primary use-case for legs vs other forms of locomotion- is a largely open problem. New advancements in control and perception have enabled bipeds to walk on flat and uneven indoor environments. But tasks that require reliable contact with unstructured world surfaces, for example walking on natural rocky terrain, need new perception and control algorithms. Read More

This paper addresses path planning of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with remote sensing capabilities (or wireless communication capabilities). The goal of the path planning is to find a minimum-flight-time closed tour of the UAV visiting all executable areas of given remote sensing and communication tasks; in order to incorporate the nonlinear vehicle dynamics, this problem is regarded as a dynamically-constrained traveling salesman problem with neighborhoods. To obtain a close-to-optimal solution for the path planning in a tractable manner, a sampling-based roadmap algorithm that embeds an optimal control-based path generation process is proposed. Read More

Dynamic Movement Primitives have successfully been used to realize imitation learning, trial-and-error learning, reinforce- ment learning, movement recognition and segmentation and control. Because of this they have become a popular represen- tation for motor primitives. In this work, we showcase how DMPs can be reformulated as a probabilistic linear dynamical system with control inputs. Read More

This paper considers the problem of simultaneous 2-D room shape reconstruction and self-localization without the requirement of any pre-established infrastructure. A mobile device equipped with co-located microphone and loudspeaker as well as internal motion sensors is used to emit acoustic pulses and collect echoes reflected by the walls. Using only first order echoes, room shape recovery and self-localization is feasible when auxiliary information is obtained using motion sensors. Read More

We study the TAPF (combined target-assignment and path-finding) problem for teams of agents in known terrain, which generalizes both the anonymous and non-anonymous multi-agent path-finding problems. Each of the teams is given the same number of targets as there are agents in the team. Each agent has to move to exactly one target given to its team such that all targets are visited. Read More

In this paper, we propose a sampling-based planning and optimal control method of nonlinear systems under non-differentiable constraints. Motivated by developing scalable planning algorithms, we consider the optimal motion plan to be a feedback controller that can be approximated by a weighted sum of given bases. Given this approximate optimal control formulation, our main contribution is to introduce importance sampling, specifically, model-reference adaptive search algorithm, to iteratively compute the optimal weight parameters, i. Read More

In this paper we consider the problem of robot navigation in simple maze-like environments where the robot has to rely on its onboard sensors to perform the navigation task. In particular, we are interested in solutions to this navigation task that do not require mapping and localization. Additionally, we require that our solution can quickly adapt to new situations (e. Read More

This paper proposes the design of a custom mirror-based light field camera adapter that is cheap, simple in construction, and accessible. Mirrors of different shape and orientation reflect the scene into an upwards-facing camera to create an array of virtual cameras with overlapping field of view at specified depths, and deliver video frame rate light fields. We describe the design, construction, decoding and calibration processes of our mirror-based light field camera adapter in preparation for an open-source release to benefit the robotic vision community. Read More

Several recently developed Multi-Agent Path Finding (MAPF) solvers scale to large MAPF instances by searching for MAPF plans on 2 levels: The high-level search resolves collisions between agents, and the low-level search plans paths for single agents under the constraints imposed by the high-level search. We make the following contributions to solve the MAPF problem with imperfect plan execution with small average makespans: First, we formalize the MAPF Problem with Delay Probabilities (MAPF-DP), define valid MAPF-DP plans and propose the use of robust plan-execution policies for valid MAPF-DP plans to control how each agent proceeds along its path. Second, we discuss 2 classes of decentralized robust plan-execution policies (called Fully Synchronized Policies and Minimal Communication Policies) that prevent collisions during plan execution for valid MAPF-DP plans. Read More

This paper reports on an algorithm for planning trajectories that allow a multirotor micro aerial vehicle (MAV) to quickly identify a set of unknown parameters. In many problems like self calibration or model parameter identification some states are only observable under a specific motion. These motions are often hard to find, especially for inexperienced users. Read More

There is an increasing necessity to deploy autonomous systems in highly heterogeneous, dynamic environments, e.g. service robots in hospitals or autonomous cars on highways. Read More

This paper shows a strategy based on passive force control for collaborative object transportation using Micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs), focusing on the transportation of a bulky object by two hexacopters. The goal is to develop a robust approach which does not rely on: (a) communication links between the MAVs, (b) the knowledge of the payload shape and (c) the position of grasping point. The proposed approach is based on the master-slave paradigm, in which the slave agent guarantees compliance to the external force applied by the master to the payload via an admittance controller. Read More

This article examines the area coverage problem for a network of mobile robots with imprecise agents' localization. Each robot has uniform radial sensing ability, governed by first order kinodynamics. The convex-space is partitioned based on the Guaranteed Voronoi (GV) principle and each robot's area of responsibility corresponds to its GV-cell, bounded by hyperbolic arcs. Read More