Efficient Optimization for Autonomous Robotic Manipulation of Natural Objects


  • Abdeslam Boularias Carnegie Mellon University
  • James Bagnell Carnegie Mellon University
  • Anthony Stentz Carnegie Mellon University




Robotic Grasping, Robotic Manipulation, Robot Learning


Manipulating natural objects of irregular shapes, such as rocks, is an essential capability of robots operating in outdoor environments. Physics-based simulators are commonly used to plan stable grasps for man-made objects. However, planning is an expensive process that is based on simulating hand and object trajectories in different configurations, and evaluating the outcome of each trajectory. This problem is particularly concerning when the objects are irregular or cluttered, because the space of feasible grasps is significantly smaller, and more configurations need to be evaluated before finding a good one. In this paper, we first present a learning technique for fast detection of an initial set of potentially stable grasps in a cluttered scene. The best detected grasps are further optimized by fine-tuning the configuration of the hand in simulation. To reduce the computational burden of this last operation, we model the outcomes of the grasps as a Gaussian Process, and use an entropy-search method in order to focus the optimization on regions where the best grasp is most likely to be. This approach is tested on the task of clearing piles of real, unknown, rock debris with an autonomous robot. Empirical results show a clear advantage of the proposed approach when the time window for decision is short.




How to Cite

Boularias, A., Bagnell, J., & Stentz, A. (2014). Efficient Optimization for Autonomous Robotic Manipulation of Natural Objects. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 28(1). https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v28i1.9052