Object Search by Manipulation

Mehmet Dogar, Michael Koval, Abhijeet Tallavajhula, and Siddhartha Srinivasa
Autonomous Robots, October, 2013.

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We investigate the problem of a robot searching for an object. This requires reasoning about both perception and manipulation: some objects are moved because the target may be hidden behind them, while others are moved because they block the manipulator’s access to other objects. We contribute a formulation of the object search by manipulation problem using visibility and accessibility relations between objects. We also propose a greedy algorithm and show that it is optimal under certain conditions. We propose a second algorithm which takes advantage of the structure of the visibility and accessibility relations between objects to quickly generate plans. Our empirical evaluation strongly suggests that our algorithm is optimal under all conditions. We support this claim with a partial proof. Finally, we demonstrate an implementation of both algorithms on a real robot using a real object detection system.

robotic manipulation, manipulation planning, object search

Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Grant ID: New York
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Quality of Life Technology Center, National Robotics Engineering Center, and Center for the Foundations of Robotics
Associated Lab(s) / Group(s): Personal Robotics

Text Reference
Mehmet Dogar, Michael Koval, Abhijeet Tallavajhula, and Siddhartha Srinivasa, "Object Search by Manipulation," Autonomous Robots, October, 2013.

BibTeX Reference
   author = "Mehmet Dogar and Michael Koval and Abhijeet Tallavajhula and Siddhartha Srinivasa",
   title = "Object Search by Manipulation",
   journal = "Autonomous Robots",
   publisher = "Springer",
   address = "New York",
   month = "October",
   year = "2013",