Spar: A Planner that Satisfies Operational and Geometric Goals in Uncertain Environments

Seth A. Hutchinson, Avinash C. Kak


In this article, we present Spar (simultaneous planner for assembly robots), an implemented system that reasons about high-level operational goals, geometric goals, and uncertainty-reduction goals to create task plans for an assembly robot. These plans contain manipulations to achieve the assembly goals and sensory operations to cope with uncertainties in the robot's environment. High-level goals (which we refer to as operational goals) are satisfied by adding operations to the plan using a nonlinear, constraint-posting method. Geometric goals are satisfied by placing constraints on the execution of these operations. If the geometric configuration of the world prevents this, Spar adds new operations to the plan along with the necessary set of constraints on the execution of these operations. When the uncertainty in the world description exceeds that specified by the uncertainty-reduction goals, Spar introduces either sensing operations or manipulations to reduce this uncertainty to acceptable levels. If Spar cannot find a way to sufficiently reduce uncertainties, it augments the plan with sensing operations to be used to verify the execution of the action and, when possible, posts possible error-recovery plans, although at this point, the verification operations and recovery plans are predefined.

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