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PASP: Policy Based Approach for Sensor Planning

Sankalp Arora and Sebastian Scherer
Conference Paper, Proceedings of 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pp. 3479 – 3486, May, 2015

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Capabilities of mobile autonomous systems is often limited by the sensory constraints. Range sensors moving in a fixed pattern are commonly used as sensing modalities on mobile robots. The performance of these sensors can be augmented by actively controlling their configuration for minimizing the expected cost of the mission. The related information gain problem in NP hard. Current methodologies are either computationally too expensive to run online or make simplifying assumptions that fail in complex environments. We present a method to create and learn a policy that maps features calculated online to sensory actions. The policy developed in this work actively controls a nodding lidar to keep the vehicle safe at high velocities and focuses the sensor bandwidth on gaining information relevant for the mission once safety is ensured. It is validated and evaluated on an autonomous full-scale helicopter (Boeing Unmanned Little Bird) equipped with an actively controlled nodding laser. It is able to keep the vehicle safe at its maximum operating velocity, 56 m/s, and reduce the landing zone evaluation time by 500% as compared to passive nodding. The structure of the policy and efficient learning algorithm should generalize to provide a solution for actively controlling a sensor for keeping a mobile robots safe while exploring regions of interest to the robot.

author = {Sankalp Arora and Sebastian Scherer},
title = {PASP: Policy Based Approach for Sensor Planning},
booktitle = {Proceedings of 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation},
year = {2015},
month = {May},
pages = {3479 – 3486},
publisher = {IEEE},
} 2018-10-04T14:57:35-04:00