Abstractions for computing all robotic sensors that suffice to solve a planning problem

by   Yulin Zhang, et al.

Whether a robot can perform some specific task depends on several aspects, including the robot's sensors and the plans it possesses. We are interested in search algorithms that treat plans and sensor designs jointly, yielding solutions—i.e., plan and sensor characterization pairs—if and only if they exist. Such algorithms can help roboticists explore the space of sensors to aid in making design trade-offs. Generalizing prior work where sensors are modeled abstractly as sensor maps on p-graphs, the present paper increases the potential sensors which can be sought significantly. But doing so enlarges a problem currently on the outer limits of being considered tractable. Toward taming this complexity, two contributions are made: (1) we show how to represent the search space for this more general problem and describe data structures that enable whole sets of sensors to be summarized via a single special representative; (2) we give a means by which other structure (either task domain knowledge, sensor technology or fabrication constraints) can be incorporated to reduce the sets to be enumerated. These lead to algorithms that we have implemented and which suffice to solve particular problem instances, albeit only of small scale. Nevertheless, the algorithm aids in helping understand what attributes sensors must possess and what information they must provide in order to ensure a robot can achieve its goals despite non-determinism.


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