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M. Grinvald, F. Tombari, R. Siegwart and J. Nieto, "TSDF++: A Multi-Object Formulation for Dynamic Object Tracking and Reconstruction", IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2021.

Abstract

The ability to simultaneously track and reconstruct multiple objects moving in the scene is of the utmost importance for robotic tasks such as autonomous navigation and interaction. Virtually all of the previous attempts to map multiple dynamic objects have evolved to store individual objects in separate reconstruction volumes and track the relative pose between them. While simple and intuitive, such formulation does not scale well with respect to the number of objects in the scene and introduces the need for an explicit occlusion handling strategy. In contrast, we propose a map representation that allows maintaining a single volume for the entire scene and all the objects therein. To this end, we introduce a novel multi-object TSDF formulation that can encode multiple object surfaces at any given location in the map. In a multiple dynamic object tracking and reconstruction scenario, our representation allows maintaining accurate reconstruction of surfaces even while they become temporarily occluded by other objects moving in their proximity. We evaluate the proposed TSDF++ formulation on a public synthetic dataset and demonstrate its ability to preserve reconstructions of occluded surfaces when compared to the standard TSDF map representation.

An introduction to Project Harmony presented at the European Robotics Forum 2021.

B. Brito, M. Everett, J. P. How and J. Alonso-Mora, "Where to go next: Learning a Subgoal Recommendation Policy for Navigation in Dynamic Environments", IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), 2021.

Abstract

Robotic navigation in environments shared with other robots or humans remains challenging because the in- tentions of the surrounding agents are not directly observable and the environment conditions are continuously changing. Local trajectory optimization methods, such as model predictive control (MPC), can deal with those changes but require global guidance, which is not trivial to obtain in crowded scenarios. This paper proposes to learn, via deep Reinforcement Learning (RL), an interaction-aware policy that provides long-term guidance to the local planner. In particular, in simulations with cooperative and non-cooperative agents, we train a deep network to recommend a subgoal for the MPC planner. The recommended subgoal is expected to help the robot in making progress towards its goal and accounts for the expected interaction with other agents. Based on the recommended subgoal, the MPC planner then optimizes the inputs for the robot satisfying its kinodynamic and collision avoidance constraints. Our approach is shown to substantially improve the navigation performance in terms of number of collisions as compared to prior MPC frameworks, and in terms of both travel time and number of collisions compared to deep RL methods in cooperative, competitive and mixed multiagent scenarios.