Homework 1 - Deliberative Robotics Paradigm

Due Tuesday Thursday, August 30, 2012

NOTE: This assignment, like others in this class, is due at the beginning of the class period. This means that if you are even a minute late, you lose 20%. If you are worried about potentially being late, turn in your homework ahead of time. Do this by submitting them to me during office hours or by sliding it under my office door. Do not send assignments to me through email or leave them in my departmental mail box.

As discussed in class, one of the primary paradigms for robotics is the deliberative paradigm. As this name implies, robot software architectures constructed using this paradigm should be good at deliberation. However, they may not be well suited to tasks that do not involve or permit much deliberation.

Consider the following (very simple) mission and environment description:

The robot must enter a large room containing typical office furnishings such as chairs, tables, lamps, desks, etc. These items are too large and heavy for the robot to move significantly. The floor of the room will be some combination of carpet, tile, and wood. The robot can traverse all of these floorings but may move more effectively or efficiently over one surface than another. There may be additional small items scattered on the floor, such as books, papers, pens, etc. These items can be pushed or driven over by the robot but doing so may cause the robot to move somewhat off course. The room may also contain steps (which the robot cannot climb), interior walls (which the robot cannot breach) and/or ramps (which the robot can roll up or down by entry at either end but which the robot cannot enter or exit from the side). The layout of the room and the position of the items is not known by the robot ahead of time. There may also be people moving about in the room. The people will not actively attempt to impede the progress of the robot but neither will they actively attempt to assist the robot (e.g., by moving out of its way). Effectively, the people can be considered to be moving obstacles which the robot must avoid. Within this environment, the robot must locate a tea kettle that is emitting steam and making a whistling sound. Note that the kettle and steam may not be visible throughout the room. There may be other noises in the room but they will not be whistling sounds. The kettle will be located on a hot plate and the robot must move to it and press a button to turn off the hot plate.

The assignment.

Complete the following exercises:

  1. List and describe a set of tasks that the robot could carry out to successfully complete this mission.
  2. For each task you listed, explain whether that task is a deliberative or reactive task.
  3. For each of the elements in the environment description, explain what types of difficulties, if any, it causes for a deliberative approach.

What to turn in.

Turn in a typed copy of your descriptions for this assignment. In total, your descriptions should run from 1.5 to 2 pages in length (roughly 80 characters per line, 50 lines per page). This does not count any diagrams or other figures that you may choose to include which may be of any size.