Failure is an option: Task and Motion Planning with Failing Executions

T. Pan, A. M. Wells, R. Shome, and L. E. Kavraki, “Failure is an option: Task and Motion Planning with Failing Executions,” in 2022 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2022, pp. 1947–1953.


Future robotic deployments will require robots to be able to repeatedly solve a variety of tasks in application domains. Task and motion planning addresses complex robotic problems that combine discrete reasoning over states and actions and geometric interactions during action executions. Moving beyond deterministic settings, stochastic actions can be handled by modeling the problem as a Markov Decision Process. The underlying probabilities however are typically hard to model since failures might be caused by hardware imperfections, sensing noise, or physical interactions. We propose a framework to address a task and motion planning setting where actions can fail during execution. To achieve a task goal actions need to be computed and executed despite failures. The robot has to infer which actions are robust and for each new problem effectively choose a solution that reduces expected execution failures. The key idea is to continually recover and refine the underlying beliefs associated with actions across multiple different problems in the domain. Our proposed method can find solutions that reduce the expected number of discrete, executed actions. Results in physics-based simulation indicate that our method outperforms baseline replanning strategies to deal with failing executions


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