Combining High-Level Causal Reasoning with Low-Level Geometric Reasoning and Motion Planning for Robotic Manipulation
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AbstractAbstract — We present a formal framework that combines high-level representation and causality-based reasoning with low-level geometric reasoning and motion planning. The framework features bilateral interaction between task and motion planning, and embeds geometric reasoning in causal reasoning, thanks to several advantages inherited from its underlying components. In particular, our choice of using a causality-based high-level formalism for describing action domains allows us to represent ramifications and state/transition constraints, and embed in such formal domain descriptions externally defined functions implemented in some programming language (e.g., C++). Moreover, given such a domain description, the causal reasoner based on this formalism (i.e., the Causal Calculator) allows us to compute optimal solutions (e.g., shortest plans) for elaborate planning/prediction problems with temporal constraints. Utilizing these features of high-level representation and reasoning, we can combine causal reasoning, motion planning and geometric planning to find feasible kinematic solutions to task-level problems. In our framework, the causal reasoner guides the motion planner by finding an optimal task-plan; if there is no feasible kinematic solution for that task-plan then the motion planner guides the causal reasoner by modifying the planning problem with new temporal constraints. Furthermore, while computing a task-plan, the causal reasoner takes into account geometric models and kinematic relations by means of external predicates implemented for geometric reasoning (e.g., to check some collisions); in that sense the geometric reasoner guides the causal reasoner to find feasible kinematic solutions. We illustrate an application of this framework to robotic manipulation, with two pantograph robots on a complex assembly task that requires concurrent execution of actions. A short video of this application accompanies the paper. I.