Accession Number : ADA623118

Title :   Natural Language Direction Following for Robots in Unstructured Unknown Environments

Descriptive Note : Doctoral thesis


Personal Author(s) : Duvallet, Felix

Full Text :

Report Date : 15 Jan 2015

Pagination or Media Count : 212

Abstract : Robots are increasingly performing collaborative tasks with people in homes, workplaces, and outdoors, and with this increase in interaction comes a need for e cient communication between human and robot teammates. One way to achieve this communication is through natural language, which provides a exible and intuitive way to issue commands to robots without requiring specialized interfaces or extensive user training. One task where natural language understanding could facilitate humanrobot interaction is navigation through unknown environments, where a user directs a robot toward a goal by describing \201in natural language\202 the actions necessary to reach the destination. Most existing approaches to following natural language directions assume that the robot has access to a complete map of the environment ahead of time. This assumption severely limits the potential environments in which a robot could operate, since collecting a semantically labeled map of the environment is expensive and time consuming. Following directions in unknown environments is much more challenging, as the robot must now make decisions using only information about the parts of the environment it has observed so far. In other words, absent a full map the robot must incrementally build up its map \201using sensor measurements\202, and rely on this partial map to follow the direction. Some approaches to following directions in unknown environments do exist, but they implicitly restrict the structure of the environment, and have so far only been applied in simulated or highly structured environments. To date, no solution exists to the problem of real robots following natural directions through unstructured and unknown environments. We address this gap by formulating the problem of following directions in unstructured unknown environments as one of sequential decision making under uncertainty. In this setting, a policy reasons about the robot's knowledge of the world so far, and predicts a sequ


Subject Categories : Linguistics

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE