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Evaluating Temporal Observation-Based Causal Discovery Techniques Applied to Road Driver Behaviour

by   Rhys Howard, et al.
University of Oxford

Autonomous robots are required to reason about the behaviour of dynamic agents in their environment. To this end, many approaches assume that causal models describing the interactions of agents are given a priori. However, in many application domains such models do not exist or cannot be engineered. Hence, the learning (or discovery) of high-level causal structures from low-level, temporal observations is a key problem in AI and robotics. However, the application of causal discovery methods to scenarios involving autonomous agents remains in the early stages of research. While a number of methods exist for performing causal discovery on time series data, these usually rely upon assumptions such as sufficiency and stationarity which cannot be guaranteed in interagent behavioural interactions in the real world. In this paper we are applying contemporary observation-based temporal causal discovery techniques to real world and synthetic driving scenarios from multiple datasets. Our evaluation demonstrates and highlights the limitations of state of the art approaches by comparing and contrasting the performance between real and synthetically generated data. Finally, based on our analysis, we discuss open issues related to causal discovery on autonomous robotics scenarios and propose future research directions for overcoming current limitations in the field.


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