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Object Instance Detection and Dynamics Modelling in a Long-Term Mobile Robot Context

Tid: Fr 2018-01-19 kl 14.00

Plats: F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH Campus

Ämnesområde: Computer Vision and Robotics

Respondent: Nils Bore , Robotics, Perception and Learning

Opponent: Assistant Professor Joydeep Biswas

Handledare: John Folkesson


In the last years, simple service robots such as autonomous vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers have become commercially available and increasingly common. The next generation of service robots should perform more advanced tasks, such as to clean up objects. Robots then need to learn to robustly navigate, and manipulate, cluttered environments, such as an untidy living room. In this thesis, we focus on representations for tasks such as general cleaning and fetching of objects. We discuss requirements for these specific tasks, and argue that solving them would be generally useful, because of their object-centric nature. We rely on two fundamental insights in our approach to understand environments on a fine-grained level. First, many of today's robot map representations are limited to the spatial domain, and ignore that there is a time axis that constrains how much an environment may change during a given period. We argue that it is of critical importance to also consider the temporal domain. By studying the motion of individual objects, we can enable tasks such as general cleaning and object fetching. The second insight comes from that mobile robots are becoming more robust. They can therefore collect large amounts of data from those environments. With more data, unsupervised learning of models becomes feasible, allowing the robot to adapt to changes in the environment, and to scenarios that the designer could not foresee. We view these capabilities as vital for robots to become truly autonomous. The combination of unsupervised learning and dynamics modelling creates an interesting symbiosis: the dynamics vary between different environments and between the objects in one environment, and learning can capture these variations. A major difficulty when modeling environment dynamics is that the whole environment can not be observed at one time, since the robot is moving between different places. We demonstrate how this can be dealt with in a principled manner, by modeling several modes of object movement. We also demonstrate methods for detection and learning of objects and structures in the static parts of the maps. Using the complete system, we can represent and learn many aspects of the full environment. In real-world experiments, we demonstrate that our system can keep track of varied objects in large and highly dynamic environments.​

The thesis in Diva