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During in-hand manipulation, robots must be able to continuously estimate the pose of the object in order to generate appropriate control actions. The performance of algorithms for pose estimation hinges on the robot's sensors being able to detect discriminative geometric object features, but previous sensing modalities are unable to make such measurements robustly. The robot's fingers can occlude the view of environment- or robot-mounted image sensors, and tactile sensors can only measure at the local areas of contact. Motivated by fingertip-embedded proximity sensors' robustness to occlusion and ability to measure beyond the local areas of contact, we present the first evaluation of proximity sensor based pose estimation for in-hand manipulation. We develop a novel two-fingered hand with fingertip-embedded optical time-of-flight proximity sensors as a testbed for pose estimation during planar in-hand manipulation. Here, the in-hand manipulation task consists of the robot moving a cylindrical object from one end of its workspace to the other. We demonstrate, with statistical significance, that proximity-sensor based pose estimation via particle filtering during in-hand manipulation: a) exhibits 50% lower average pose error than a tactile-sensor based baseline; b) empowers a model predictive controller to achieve 30% lower final positioning error compared to when using tactile-sensormore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 23, 2023
We focus on the problem of planning the motion of a robot in a dynamic multiagent environment such as a pedestrian scene. Enabling the robot to navigate safely and in a socially compliant fashion in such scenes requires a representation that accounts for the unfolding multiagent dynamics. Existing approaches to this problem tend to employ microscopic models of motion prediction that reason about the individual behavior of other agents. While such models may achieve high tracking accuracy in trajectory prediction benchmarks, they often lack an understanding of the group structures unfolding in crowded scenes. Inspired by the Gestalt theory from psychology, we build a Model Predictive Control framework (G-MPC) that leverages group-based prediction for robot motion planning. We conduct an extensive simulation study involving a series of challenging navigation tasks in scenes extracted from two real-world pedestrian datasets. We illustrate that G-MPC enables a robot to achieve statistically significantly higher safety and lower number of group intrusions than a series of baselines featuring individual pedestrian motion prediction models. Finally, we show that G-MPC can handle noisy lidar-scan estimates without significant performance losses.