TechTalks from event: Technical session talks from ICRA 2012

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Learning and Adaptive Control of Robotic Systems I

  • RTMBA: A Real-Time Model-Based Reinforcement Learning Architecture for Robot Control Authors: Hester, Todd; Quinlan, Michael; Stone, Peter
    Reinforcement Learning (RL) is a paradigm for learning decision-making tasks that could enable robots to learn and adapt to their situation on-line. For an RL algorithm to be practical for robotic control tasks, it must learn in very few samples, while continually taking actions in real-time. Existing model-based RL methods learn in relatively few samples, but typically take too much time between each action for practical on-line learning. In this paper, we present a novel parallel architecture for model-based RL that runs in real-time by 1) taking advantage of sample-based approximate planning methods and 2) parallelizing the acting, model learning, and planning processes in a novel way such that the acting process is sufficiently fast for typical robot control cycles. We demonstrate that algorithms using this architecture perform nearly as well as methods using the typical sequential architecture when both are given unlimited time, and greatly out-perform these methods on tasks that require real-time actions such as controlling an autonomous vehicle.
  • Sensorimotor Learning of Sound Localization from an Auditory Evoked Behavior Authors: Bernard, Mathieu; PIRIM, Patrick; de Cheveigné, Alain; Gas, Bruno
    A new method for self-supervised sensorimotor learning of sound source localization is presented, that allows a simulated listener to learn online an auditorimotor map from the sensorimotor experience provided by an auditory evoked behavior. The map represents the auditory space and is used to estimate the azimuthal direction of sound sources. The learning mainly consists in non-linear dimensionality reduction of sensorimotor data. Our results show that an auditorimotor map can be learned, both from real and simulated data, and that the online learning leads to accurate estimations of azimuthal sources direction.
  • Path-following Control of a Velocity Constrained Tracked Vehicle Incorporating Adaptive Slip Estimation Authors: Burke, Michael
    This work presents a model predictive path-following controller, which incorporates adaptive slip estimation for a tracked vehicle. Tracked vehicles are capable of manoeuvring in highly variable and uneven terrain, but difficulties in their control have traditionally limited their use as autonomous platforms. Attempts to compensate for slip in environments typically require that both the forward and rotational velocities of a platform be determined, but this can be challenging. This paper shows that it is possible to estimate vehicle traction using only a rate gyroscope, by providing a suitable adaptive least squares estimator to do so. An approach to generating slip compensating controls when platform velocity constraints are applied is also presented. The approach is controller independent, but we make use of a model predictive controller, vulnerable to the effects of model-plant mismatch, to highlight the efficacy of the proposed estimation and compensation. Path following results using a mixture model to generate feasible slip values are presented, and show a significant increase in controller performance.
  • Direct Yaw Moment Control for Four Wheel Independent Steering and Drive Vehicles Based on Centripetal Force Detection Authors: Lam, Tin Lun; Xu, Yangsheng
    In this paper, a deterministic yaw moment controller for four wheel independent steering and drive vehicles is proposed to enhance driving stability and controllability. Different to conventional methods that track a desired yaw rate, the proposed controller stabilizes a vehicle by additionally tracking the heading angle of a vehicle which is more efficient and robust. The heading angle of a vehicle is obtained by a novel method which is based on centripetal force detection. It eliminates the prerequisite knowledge of the characteristics between wheels and road surface which are time varying and difficult to be measured in real time. The proposed system only requires low cost sensing equipment such as wheel speed sensor and accelerometer that makes the system practical to be utilized. The proposed heading angle detection method can be generally applied to any kind of vehicle. The deterministic yaw moment controller is also applicable to any type of four wheel independent drive vehicles.
  • Predictive Control of Chained Systems: A Necessary Condition on the Control Horizon Authors: Courtial, Estelle; Fruchard, Matthieu; Allibert, Guillaume
    This paper deals with state feedback control of chained systems based on a Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) strategy. Chained systems can model many common nonholonomic vehicles. We establish a relation between the degree of nonholonomy and the minimum length of the control horizon so as to make the NMPC feasible. A necessary condition on the control horizon of NMPC is given and theoretically proved whatever the dimension of the chained system consid- ered. This relation is used to design a NMPC-based control strategy for chained systems. One of the advantages of NMPC is the capability of taking into account the constraints on state and on control variables. The theoretical results are illustrated through simulations on a (2,5) chained system, describing a car-like vehicle with one trailer. Difficult motion objectives that require a lateral displacement are considered.
  • Xbots: An Approach to Generating and Executing Optimal Multi-Robot Plans with Cross-Schedule Dependencies Authors: Korsah, G. Ayorkor; Kannan, Balajee; Browning, Brett; Stentz, Anthony; Dias, M. Bernardine
    In this paper, we present an approach to bounded optimal planning and flexible execution for a robot team performing a set of spatially distributed tasks related by temporal ordering constraints such as precedence or synchronization. Furthermore, the manner in which the temporal constraints are satisfied impacts the overall utility of the team, due to the existence of both routing and delay costs. We present a bounded optimal offline planner for task allocation and scheduling in the presence of such cross-schedule dependencies, and a flexible, distributed online plan execution strategy. The integrated system performs task allocation and scheduling, executes the plans smoothly in the face of real-world variations in operation speed and task execution time, and ensures graceful degradation in the event of task failure. We demonstrate the capabilities of our approach on a team of three pioneer robots operating in an indoor environment. Experimental results demonstrate that approach is effective for constrained planning and execution in the face of real-world variations.