Models, code, and papers for "Stefanie Tellex":

Estimation for Quadrotors

Aug 31, 2018
Stefanie Tellex, Andy Brown, Sergei Lupashin

This document describes standard approaches for filtering and estimation for quadrotors, created for the Udacity Flying Cars course. We assume previous knowledge of probability and some knowledge of linear algebra. We do not assume previous knowledge of Kalman filters or Bayes filters. This document derives an EKF for various models of drones in 1D, 2D, and 3D. We use the EKF and notation as defined in Thrun et al. [13]. We also give pseudocode for the Bayes filter, the EKF, and the Unscented Kalman filter [14]. The motivation behind this document is the lack of a step-by-step EKF tutorial that provides the derivations for a quadrotor helicopter. The goal of estimation is to infer the drone's state (pose, velocity, acceleration, and biases) from its sensor values and control inputs. This problem is challenging because sensors are noisy. Additionally, because of weight and cost issues, many drones have limited on-board computation so we want to estimate these values as quickly as possible. The standard method for performing this method is the Extended Kalman filter, a nonlinear extension of the Kalman filter which linearizes a nonlinear transition and measurement model around the current state. However the Unscented Kalman filter is better in almost every respect: simpler to implement, more accurate to estimate, and comparable runtimes.


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Deep Abstract Q-Networks

Aug 25, 2018
Melrose Roderick, Christopher Grimm, Stefanie Tellex

We examine the problem of learning and planning on high-dimensional domains with long horizons and sparse rewards. Recent approaches have shown great successes in many Atari 2600 domains. However, domains with long horizons and sparse rewards, such as Montezuma's Revenge and Venture, remain challenging for existing methods. Methods using abstraction (Dietterich 2000; Sutton, Precup, and Singh 1999) have shown to be useful in tackling long-horizon problems. We combine recent techniques of deep reinforcement learning with existing model-based approaches using an expert-provided state abstraction. We construct toy domains that elucidate the problem of long horizons, sparse rewards and high-dimensional inputs, and show that our algorithm significantly outperforms previous methods on these domains. Our abstraction-based approach outperforms Deep Q-Networks (Mnih et al. 2015) on Montezuma's Revenge and Venture, and exhibits backtracking behavior that is absent from previous methods.


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Implementing the Deep Q-Network

Nov 20, 2017
Melrose Roderick, James MacGlashan, Stefanie Tellex

The Deep Q-Network proposed by Mnih et al. [2015] has become a benchmark and building point for much deep reinforcement learning research. However, replicating results for complex systems is often challenging since original scientific publications are not always able to describe in detail every important parameter setting and software engineering solution. In this paper, we present results from our work reproducing the results of the DQN paper. We highlight key areas in the implementation that were not covered in great detail in the original paper to make it easier for researchers to replicate these results, including termination conditions and gradient descent algorithms. Finally, we discuss methods for improving the computational performance and provide our own implementation that is designed to work with a range of domains, and not just the original Arcade Learning Environment [Bellemare et al., 2013].


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RoboMem: Giving Long Term Memory to Robots

Mar 23, 2020
Ifrah Idrees, Steven P. Reiss, Stefanie Tellex

Robots have the potential to improve health monitoring outcomes for the elderly by providing doctors, and caregivers with information about the person's behavior, health activities and their surrounding environment. Over the years, less work has been done to enable robots to preserve information for longer periods of time, on the order of months and years of data, and use this contextual information to answer queries. Time complexity to process this massive sensor data in a timely fashion, inability to anticipate the future queries in advance and imprecision involved in the results have been the main impediments in making progress in this area. We make a contribution by introducing RoboMem, a query answering system for health-care assistance of elderly over long term; continuous data feeds that intends to overcome the challenges of giving long term memory to robots. The design for our framework preprocesses the sensor data and stores this preprocessed data into the database. This data is updated in the database by going through successive refinements, improving its accuracy for responding to queries. If data in the database is not enough to answer a query, a small set of relevant frames (also obtained from the database) will be reprocessed to obtain the answer. [Our initial prototype of RoboMem stores 3.5MB of data in the database as compared to 535.8MB of actual video frames and with minimal data in the database it is able to fetch information fundamental to respond to queries in 0.0002 seconds on average].

* Poster Paper accepted in ICRA 2019 workshop - MoRobAE - Mobile Robot Assistants for the Elderly 

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Advantages and Limitations of using Successor Features for Transfer in Reinforcement Learning

Jul 31, 2017
Lucas Lehnert, Stefanie Tellex, Michael L. Littman

One question central to Reinforcement Learning is how to learn a feature representation that supports algorithm scaling and re-use of learned information from different tasks. Successor Features approach this problem by learning a feature representation that satisfies a temporal constraint. We present an implementation of an approach that decouples the feature representation from the reward function, making it suitable for transferring knowledge between domains. We then assess the advantages and limitations of using Successor Features for transfer.


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Scanning the Internet for ROS: A View of Security in Robotics Research

Jul 23, 2018
Nicholas DeMarinis, Stefanie Tellex, Vasileios Kemerlis, George Konidaris, Rodrigo Fonseca

Because robots can directly perceive and affect the physical world, security issues take on particular importance. In this paper, we describe the results of our work on scanning the entire IPv4 address space of the Internet for instances of the Robot Operating System (ROS), a widely used robotics platform for research. Our results identified that a number of hosts supporting ROS are exposed to the public Internet, thereby allowing anyone to access robotic sensors and actuators. As a proof of concept, and with consent, we were able to read image sensor information and move the robot of a research group in a US university. This paper gives an overview of our findings, including the geographic distribution of publicly-accessible platforms, the sorts of sensor and actuator data that is available, as well as the different kinds of robots and sensors that our scan uncovered. Additionally, we offer recommendations on best practices to mitigate these security issues in the future.

* 10 pages 

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Grounding Language Attributes to Objects using Bayesian Eigenobjects

May 30, 2019
Vanya Cohen, Benjamin Burchfiel, Thao Nguyen, Nakul Gopalan, Stefanie Tellex, George Konidaris

We develop a system to disambiguate objects based on simple physical descriptions. The system takes as input a natural language phrase and a depth image containing a segmented object and predicts how similar the observed object is to the described object. Our system is designed to learn from only a small amount of human-labeled language data and generalize to viewpoints not represented in the language-annotated depth-image training set. By decoupling 3D shape representation from language representation, our method is able to ground language to novel objects using a small amount of language-annotated depth-data and a larger corpus of unlabeled 3D object meshes, even when these objects are partially observed from unusual viewpoints. Our system is able to disambiguate between novel objects, observed via depth-images, based on natural language descriptions. Our method also enables view-point transfer; trained on human-annotated data on a small set of depth-images captured from frontal viewpoints, our system successfully predicted object attributes from rear views despite having no such depth images in its training set. Finally, we demonstrate our system on a Baxter robot, enabling it to pick specific objects based on human-provided natural language descriptions.


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Planning with State Abstractions for Non-Markovian Task Specifications

May 28, 2019
Yoonseon Oh, Roma Patel, Thao Nguyen, Baichuan Huang, Ellie Pavlick, Stefanie Tellex

Often times, we specify tasks for a robot using temporal language that can also span different levels of abstraction. The example command ``go to the kitchen before going to the second floor'' contains spatial abstraction, given that ``floor'' consists of individual rooms that can also be referred to in isolation ("kitchen", for example). There is also a temporal ordering of events, defined by the word "before". Previous works have used Linear Temporal Logic (LTL) to interpret temporal language (such as "before"), and Abstract Markov Decision Processes (AMDPs) to interpret hierarchical abstractions (such as "kitchen" and "second floor"), separately. To handle both types of commands at once, we introduce the Abstract Product Markov Decision Process (AP-MDP), a novel approach capable of representing non-Markovian reward functions at different levels of abstractions. The AP-MDP framework translates LTL into its corresponding automata, creates a product Markov Decision Process (MDP) of the LTL specification and the environment MDP, and decomposes the problem into subproblems to enable efficient planning with abstractions. AP-MDP performs faster than a non-hierarchical method of solving LTL problems in over 95% of tasks, and this number only increases as the size of the environment domain increases. We also present a neural sequence-to-sequence model trained to translate language commands into LTL expression, and a new corpus of non-Markovian language commands spanning different levels of abstraction. We test our framework with the collected language commands on a drone, demonstrating that our approach enables a robot to efficiently solve temporal commands at different levels of abstraction.


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Accurately and Efficiently Interpreting Human-Robot Instructions of Varying Granularities

Jun 19, 2018
Dilip Arumugam, Siddharth Karamcheti, Nakul Gopalan, Lawson L. S. Wong, Stefanie Tellex

Humans can ground natural language commands to tasks at both abstract and fine-grained levels of specificity. For instance, a human forklift operator can be instructed to perform a high-level action, like "grab a pallet" or a low-level action like "tilt back a little bit." While robots are also capable of grounding language commands to tasks, previous methods implicitly assume that all commands and tasks reside at a single, fixed level of abstraction. Additionally, methods that do not use multiple levels of abstraction encounter inefficient planning and execution times as they solve tasks at a single level of abstraction with large, intractable state-action spaces closely resembling real world complexity. In this work, by grounding commands to all the tasks or subtasks available in a hierarchical planning framework, we arrive at a model capable of interpreting language at multiple levels of specificity ranging from coarse to more granular. We show that the accuracy of the grounding procedure is improved when simultaneously inferring the degree of abstraction in language used to communicate the task. Leveraging hierarchy also improves efficiency: our proposed approach enables a robot to respond to a command within one second on 90% of our tasks, while baselines take over twenty seconds on half the tasks. Finally, we demonstrate that a real, physical robot can ground commands at multiple levels of abstraction allowing it to efficiently plan different subtasks within the same planning hierarchy.

* Updated with final version - Published as Conference Paper in Robotics: Science and Systems 2017 

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Advanced Autonomy on a Low-Cost Educational Drone Platform

Oct 08, 2019
Luke Eller, Theo Guerin, Baichuan Huang, Garrett Warren, Sophie Yang, Josh Roy, Stefanie Tellex

PiDrone is a quadrotor platform created to accompany an introductory robotics course. Students build an autonomous flying robot from scratch and learn to program it through assignments and projects. Existing educational robots do not have significant autonomous capabilities, such as high-level planning and mapping. We present a hardware and software framework for an autonomous aerial robot, in which all software for autonomy can run onboard the drone, implemented in Python. We present an Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) for accurate state estimation. Next, we present an implementation of Monte Carlo (MC) Localization and FastSLAM for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). The performance of UKF, localization, and SLAM is tested and compared to ground truth, provided by a motion-capture system. Our evaluation demonstrates that our autonomous educational framework runs quickly and accurately on a Raspberry Pi in Python, making it ideal for use in educational settings.


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Communicating Robot Arm Motion Intent Through Mixed Reality Head-mounted Displays

Aug 11, 2017
Eric Rosen, David Whitney, Elizabeth Phillips, Gary Chien, James Tompkin, George Konidaris, Stefanie Tellex

Efficient motion intent communication is necessary for safe and collaborative work environments with collocated humans and robots. Humans efficiently communicate their motion intent to other humans through gestures, gaze, and social cues. However, robots often have difficulty efficiently communicating their motion intent to humans via these methods. Many existing methods for robot motion intent communication rely on 2D displays, which require the human to continually pause their work and check a visualization. We propose a mixed reality head-mounted display visualization of the proposed robot motion over the wearer's real-world view of the robot and its environment. To evaluate the effectiveness of this system against a 2D display visualization and against no visualization, we asked 32 participants to labeled different robot arm motions as either colliding or non-colliding with blocks on a table. We found a 16% increase in accuracy with a 62% decrease in the time it took to complete the task compared to the next best system. This demonstrates that a mixed-reality HMD allows a human to more quickly and accurately tell where the robot is going to move than the compared baselines.


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A Tale of Two DRAGGNs: A Hybrid Approach for Interpreting Action-Oriented and Goal-Oriented Instructions

Jul 26, 2017
Siddharth Karamcheti, Edward C. Williams, Dilip Arumugam, Mina Rhee, Nakul Gopalan, Lawson L. S. Wong, Stefanie Tellex

Robots operating alongside humans in diverse, stochastic environments must be able to accurately interpret natural language commands. These instructions often fall into one of two categories: those that specify a goal condition or target state, and those that specify explicit actions, or how to perform a given task. Recent approaches have used reward functions as a semantic representation of goal-based commands, which allows for the use of a state-of-the-art planner to find a policy for the given task. However, these reward functions cannot be directly used to represent action-oriented commands. We introduce a new hybrid approach, the Deep Recurrent Action-Goal Grounding Network (DRAGGN), for task grounding and execution that handles natural language from either category as input, and generalizes to unseen environments. Our robot-simulation results demonstrate that a system successfully interpreting both goal-oriented and action-oriented task specifications brings us closer to robust natural language understanding for human-robot interaction.

* Accepted at the 1st Workshop on Language Grounding for Robotics at ACL 2017 

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Learning Deep Parameterized Skills from Demonstration for Re-targetable Visuomotor Control

Oct 23, 2019
Jonathan Chang, Nishanth Kumar, Sean Hastings, Aaron Gokaslan, Diego Romeres, Devesh Jha, Daniel Nikovski, George Konidaris, Stefanie Tellex

Robots need to learn skills that can not only generalize across similar problems but also be directed to a specific goal. Previous methods either train a new skill for every different goal or do not infer the specific target in the presence of multiple goals from visual data. We introduce an end-to-end method that represents targetable visuomotor skills as a goal-parameterized neural network policy. By training on an informative subset of available goals with the associated target parameters, we are able to learn a policy that can zero-shot generalize to previously unseen goals. We evaluate our method in a representative 2D simulation of a button-grid and on both button-pressing and peg-insertion tasks on two different physical arms. We demonstrate that our model trained on 33% of the possible goals is able to generalize to more than 90% of the targets in the scene for both simulation and robot experiments. We also successfully learn a mapping from target pixel coordinates to a robot policy to complete a specified goal.

* Preprint. Currently under review. * denotes equal contribution 

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Generalized Grounding Graphs: A Probabilistic Framework for Understanding Grounded Commands

Nov 29, 2017
Thomas Kollar, Stefanie Tellex, Matthew Walter, Albert Huang, Abraham Bachrach, Sachi Hemachandra, Emma Brunskill, Ashis Banerjee, Deb Roy, Seth Teller, Nicholas Roy

Many task domains require robots to interpret and act upon natural language commands which are given by people and which refer to the robot's physical surroundings. Such interpretation is known variously as the symbol grounding problem, grounded semantics and grounded language acquisition. This problem is challenging because people employ diverse vocabulary and grammar, and because robots have substantial uncertainty about the nature and contents of their surroundings, making it difficult to associate the constitutive language elements (principally noun phrases and spatial relations) of the command text to elements of those surroundings. Symbolic models capture linguistic structure but have not scaled successfully to handle the diverse language produced by untrained users. Existing statistical approaches can better handle diversity, but have not to date modeled complex linguistic structure, limiting achievable accuracy. Recent hybrid approaches have addressed limitations in scaling and complexity, but have not effectively associated linguistic and perceptual features. Our framework, called Generalized Grounding Graphs (G^3), addresses these issues by defining a probabilistic graphical model dynamically according to the linguistic parse structure of a natural language command. This approach scales effectively, handles linguistic diversity, and enables the system to associate parts of a command with the specific objects, places, and events in the external world to which they refer. We show that robots can learn word meanings and use those learned meanings to robustly follow natural language commands produced by untrained users. We demonstrate our approach for both mobility commands and mobile manipulation commands involving a variety of semi-autonomous robotic platforms, including a wheelchair, a micro-air vehicle, a forklift, and the Willow Garage PR2.

* Submitted to the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research 

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