Extending the Applicability of POMDP Solutions to Robotic Tasks

D. K. Grady, M. Moll, and L. E. Kavraki, “Extending the Applicability of POMDP Solutions to Robotic Tasks,” IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 948–961, 2015.


Partially-Observable Markov Decision Processes (POMDPs) are used in many robotic task classes from soccer to household chores. Determining an approximately optimal action policy for POMDPs is PSPACE-complete, and the exponential growth of computation time prohibits solving large tasks. This paper describes two techniques to extend the range of robotic tasks that can be solved using a POMDP. Our first technique reduces the motion constraints of a robot, and then uses state-of-the-art robotic motion planning techniques to respect the true motion constraints at runtime. We then propose a novel task decomposition that can be applied to some indoor robotic tasks. This decomposition transforms a long time horizon task into a set of shorter tasks. We empirically demonstrate the performance gain provided by these two techniques through simulated execution in a variety of environments. Comparing a direct formulation of a POMDP to solving our proposed reductions, we conclude that the techniques proposed in this paper can provide significant enhancement to current POMDP solution techniques, extending the POMDP instances that can be solved to include large, continuous-state robotic tasks.

Publisher: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TRO.2015.2441511

PDF preprint: http://kavrakilab.org/publications/grady-moll2015extending-applicability-of.pdf