In this paper, we develop a novel and safe control design approach that takes demonstrations provided by a human teacher to enable a robot to accomplish complex manipulation scenarios in dynamic environments. First, an overall task is divided into multiple simpler subtasks that are more appropriate for learning and control objectives. Then, by collecting human demonstrations, the subtasks that require robot movement are modeled by probabilistic movement primitives (ProMPs). We also study two strategies for modifying the ProMPs to avoid collisions with environmental obstacles. Finally, we introduce a rule-base control technique by utilizing a finite-state machine along with a unique means of control design for ProMPs. For the ProMP controller, we propose control barrier and Lyapunov functions to guide the system along a trajectory within the distribution defined by a ProMP while guaranteeing that the system state never leaves more than a desired distance from the distribution mean. This allows for better performance on nonlinear systems and offers solid stability and known bounds on the system state. A series of simulations and experimental studies demonstrate the efficacy of our approach and show that it can run in real time. Note to Practitioners —This paper is motivated by the need tomore »
Active Safety Envelopes using Light Curtains with Probabilistic Guarantees
To safely navigate unknown environments; robots must accurately perceive dynamic obstacles. Instead of directly measuring the scene depth with a LiDAR sensor; we explore the use of a much cheaper and higher resolution sensor: programmable light curtains. Light curtains are controllable depth sensors that sense only along a surface that a user selects. We use light curtains to estimate the safety envelope of a scene: a hypothetical surface that separates the robot from all obstacles. We show that generating light curtains that sense random locations (from a particular distribution) can quickly discover the safety envelope for scenes with unknown objects. Importantly; we produce theoretical safety guarantees on the probability of detecting an obstacle using random curtains. We combine random curtains with a machine learning based model that forecasts and tracks the motion of the safety envelope efficiently. Our method accurately estimates safety envelopes while providing probabilistic safety guarantees that can be used to certify the efficacy of a robot perception system to detect and avoid dynamic obstacles. We evaluate our approach in a simulated urban driving environment and a real-world environment with moving pedestrians using a light curtain device and show that we can estimate safety envelopes efficiently and effectively.
- Publication Date:
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Journal Name:
- Robotics: Science and Systems
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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