Tag Archives: Machine Learning

Survey of machine learning applied to robot navigation, including a brief survey of classic navigation

Xiao, X., Liu, B., Warnell, G. et al. Motion planning and control for mobile robot navigation using machine learning: a survey, Auton Robot 46, 569\u2013597 (2022) DOI: 10.1007/s10514-022-10039-8.

Moving in complex environments is an essential capability of intelligent mobile robots. Decades of research and engineering have been dedicated to developing sophisticated navigation systems to move mobile robots from one point to another. Despite their overall success, a recently emerging research thrust is devoted to developing machine learning techniques to address the same problem, based in large part on the success of deep learning. However, to date, there has not been much direct comparison between the classical and emerging paradigms to this problem. In this article, we survey recent works that apply machine learning for motion planning and control in mobile robot navigation, within the context of classical navigation systems. The surveyed works are classified into different categories, which delineate the relationship of the learning approaches to classical methods. Based on this classification, we identify common challenges and promising future directions.

Enforcing safe behaviour on critical systems that use machine learning through robust control and bayesian inference

J. F. Fisac, A. K. Akametalu, M. N. Zeilinger, S. Kaynama, J. Gillula and C. J. Tomlin, A General Safety Framework for Learning-Based Control in Uncertain Robotic Systems, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, vol. 64, no. 7, pp. 2737-2752 DOI: 10.1109/TAC.2018.2876389.

The proven efficacy of learning-based control schemes strongly motivates their application to robotic systems operating in the physical world. However, guaranteeing correct operation during the learning process is currently an unresolved issue, which is of vital importance in safety-critical systems. We propose a general safety framework based on Hamilton–Jacobi reachability methods that can work in conjunction with an arbitrary learning algorithm. The method exploits approximate knowledge of the system dynamics to guarantee constraint satisfaction while minimally interfering with the learning process. We further introduce a Bayesian mechanism that refines the safety analysis as the system acquires new evidence, reducing initial conservativeness when appropriate while strengthening guarantees through real-time validation. The result is a least-restrictive, safety-preserving control law that intervenes only when the computed safety guarantees require it, or confidence in the computed guarantees decays in light of new observations. We prove theoretical safety guarantees combining probabilistic and worst-case analysis and demonstrate the proposed framework experimentally on a quadrotor vehicle. Even though safety analysis is based on a simple point-mass model, the quadrotor successfully arrives at a suitable controller by policy-gradient reinforcement learning without ever crashing, and safely retracts away from a strong external disturbance introduced during flight.

Predicting the structure of indoor environments for mobile robots

Matteo Luperto, Francesco Amigoni, Predicting the global structure of indoor environments: A constructive machine learning approach, Autonomous Robots, April 2019, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 813–835, DOI: 10.1007/s10514-018-9732-7.

Consider a mobile robot exploring an initially unknown school building and assume that it has already discovered some corridors, classrooms, offices, and bathrooms. What can the robot infer about the presence and the locations of other classrooms and offices and, more generally, about the structure of the rest of the building? This paper presents a system that makes a step towards providing an answer to the above question. The proposed system is based on a generative model that is able to represent the topological structures and the semantic labeling schemas of buildings and to generate plausible hypotheses for unvisited portions of these environments. We represent the buildings as undirected graphs, whose nodes are rooms and edges are physical connections between them. Given an initial knowledge base of graphs, our approach, relying on constructive machine learning techniques, segments each graph for finding significant subgraphs and clusters them according to their similarity, which is measured using graph kernels. A graph representing a new building or an unvisited part of a building is eventually generated by sampling subgraphs from clusters and connecting them.