Planning to Perceive: Exploiting Mobility for Robust Object Detection

author: Javier Velez, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: July 21, 2011,   recorded: June 2011,   views: 3638


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Consider the task of a mobile robot autonomously navigating through an environment while detecting and mapping objects of interest using a noisy object detector. The robot must reach its destination in a timely manner, but is rewarded for correctly detecting recognizable objects to be added to the map, and penalized for false alarms. However, detector performance typically varies with vantage point, so the robot benefits from planning trajectories which maximize the efficacy of the recognition system. This work describes an online, any-time planning framework enabling the active exploration of possible detections provided by an off-the-shelf object detector. We present a probabilistic approach where vantage points are identified which provide a more informative view of a potential object. The agent then weighs the benefit of increasing its confidence against the cost of taking a detour to reach each identified vantage point. The system is demonstrated to significantly improve detection and trajectory length in both simulated and real robot experiments.

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