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  1. As many robot automation applications increasingly rely on multi-core processing or deep-learning models, cloud computing is becoming an attractive and economically viable resource for systems that do not contain high computing power onboard. Despite its immense computing capacity, it is often underused by the robotics and automation community due to lack of expertise in cloud computing and cloud-based infrastructure. Fog Robotics balances computing and data between cloud edge devices. We propose a software framework, FogROS, as an extension of the Robot Operating System (ROS), the de-facto standard for creating robot automation applications and components. It allows researchers to deploy componentsmore »of their software to the cloud with minimal effort, and correspondingly gain access to additional computing cores, GPUs, FPGAs, and TPUs, as well as predeployed software made available by other researchers. FogROS allows a researcher to specify which components of their software will be deployed to the cloud and to what type of computing hardware. We evaluate FogROS on 3 examples: (1) simultaneous localization and mapping (ORB-SLAM2), (2) Dexterity Network (Dex-Net) GPU-based grasp planning, and (3) multi-core motion planning using a 96-core cloud-based server. In all three examples, a component is deployed to the cloud and accelerated with a small change in system launch configuration, while incurring additional latency of 1.2 s, 0.6 s, and 0.5 s due to network communication, the computation speed is improved by 2.6x, 6.0x and 34.2x, respectively.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 23, 2022
  2. Mechanical search, the finding and extracting of a known target object from a cluttered environment, is a key challenge in automating warehouse, home, retail, and industrial tasks. In this paper, we consider contexts in which occluding objects are to remain untouched, thus minimizing disruptions and avoiding toppling. We assume a 6-DOF robot with an RGBD camera and unicontact suction gripper mounted on its wrist. With this setup, the robot can move both camera and gripper in order to identify a suitable approach vector, reach in to achieve a suction grasp of the target object, and extract it. We present AVPLUG:more »Approach Vector PLanning for Unicontact Grasping, an algorithm that uses an octree occupancy model and Minkowski sum computation to find a collision-free grasp approach vector. Experiments in simulation and with a physical Fetch robot suggest that AVPLUG finds an approach vector up to 20× faster than a baseline search policy.« less
  3. There has been significant recent work on data-driven algorithms for learning general-purpose grasping policies. However, these policies can consis- tently fail to grasp challenging objects which are significantly out of the distribution of objects in the training data or which have very few high quality grasps. Moti- vated by such objects, we propose a novel problem setting, Exploratory Grasping, for efficiently discovering reliable grasps on an unknown polyhedral object via sequential grasping, releasing, and toppling. We formalize Exploratory Grasping as a Markov Decision Process where we assume that the robot can (1) distinguish stable poses of a polyhedral object ofmore »unknown geometry, (2) generate grasp can- didates on these poses and execute them, (3) determine whether each grasp is successful, and (4) release the object into a random new pose after a grasp success or topple the object after a grasp failure. We study the theoretical complexity of Exploratory Grasping in the context of reinforcement learning and present an efficient bandit-style algorithm, Bandits for Online Rapid Grasp Exploration Strategy (BORGES), which leverages the structure of the problem to efficiently discover high performing grasps for each object stable pose. BORGES can be used to complement any general-purpose grasping algorithm with any grasp modality (parallel-jaw, suction, multi-fingered, etc) to learn policies for objects in which they exhibit persistent failures. Simulation experiments suggest that BORGES can significantly outperform both general-purpose grasping pipelines and two other online learning algorithms and achieves performance within 5% of the optimal policy within 1000 and 8000 timesteps on average across 46 challenging objects from the Dex-Net adversarial and EGAD! object datasets, respectively. Initial physical experiments suggest that BORGES can improve grasp success rate by 45% over a Dex-Net baseline with just 200 grasp attempts in the real world. See https://tinyurl.com/exp-grasping for supplementary material and videos.« less