The General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab is a multidisciplinary research laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 1979, the lab has grown to be one of the premier research labs focusing on fundamental research in robotics, vision, perception, control and automation.
PublicationA Reasoning Framework for Autonomous Urban Driving(2008-06-04) Ferguson, Dave; Baker, Christopher; Likhachev, Maxim; Dolan, JohnUrban driving is a demanding task for autonomous vehicles as it requires the development and integration of several challenging capabilities, including high-level route planning, interaction with other vehicles, complex maneuvers, and ultra-reliability. In this paper, we present a reasoning framework for an autonomous vehicle navigating through urban environments. Our approach combines route-level planning, context-sensitive local decision making, and sophisticated motion planning to produce safe, intelligent actions for the vehicle. We provide examples from an implementation on an autonomous passenger vehicle that has driven over 3000 autonomous kilometers and competed in, and won, the Urban Challenge. PublicationDesign of Body-Grounded Tactile Actuators for Playback of Human Physical Contact(2011-06-01) Kuchenbecker, Katherine J; Stanley, Andrew AWe present four wearable tactile actuators capable of recreating physical sensations commonly experienced in human interactions, including tapping on, dragging across, squeezing, and twisting an individual’s wrist. In seeking to create tactile signals that feel natural and are easy to understand, we developed movement control interfaces to play back each of these forms of actual human physical contact. Through iterative design, prototyping, programming, and testing, each of these servo-motor-based mechanisms produces a signal that is gradable in magnitude, can be played in a variety of temporal patterns, is localizable to a small area of skin, and, for three of the four actuators, has an associated direction. Additionally, we have tried to design toward many of the characteristics that have made high frequency vibration the most common form of wearable tactile feedback, including low cost, light weight, comfort, and small size. Bolstered by largely positive comments from naive users during an informal testing session, we plan to continue improving these devices for future use in tactile motion guidance. PublicationFast Image Segmentation(1989-07-01) Corke, Peter I; Anderson, Helen IImage segmentation remains one of the greatest problems in machine vision. The technique described here takes an image and a geometric description of the object required, determines multiple binary thresholds to segment the image, and combines the information from the appropriate thresholds. By utilizing region-growing hardware it is possible to achieve segmentation in less than 2 seconds. PublicationMulti-Modal Control of Systems with Constraints(2001-12-04) Koo, T. John; Pappas, George J; Sastry, ShankarIn multi-modal control paradigm, a set of controllers of satisfactory performance have already been designed and must be used. Each controller may be designed for a different set of outputs in order to meet the given performance objectives and system constraints. When such a collection of control modes is available, an important problem is to be able to accomplish a variety of high level tasks by appropriately switching between the low-level control modes. In this paper, we propose a framework for determining the sequence of control modes that will satisfy reachability tasks. Our framework exploits the structure of output tracking controllers in order to extract a finite graph where the mode switching problem can be efficiently solved, and then implement it using the continuous controllers. Our approach is illustrated on a robot manipulator example, where we determine the mode switching logic that achieves the given reachability task. PublicationHybrid Controllers for Path Planning: A Temporal Logic Approach(2005-01-01) Fainekos, Geogios E; Kress-Gazit, Hadas; Pappas, George JRobot motion planning algorithms have focused on low-level reachability goals taking into account robot kinematics, or on high level task planning while ignoring low-level dynamics. In this paper, we present an integrated approach to the design of closed–loop hybrid controllers that guarantee by construction that the resulting continuous robot trajectories satisfy sophisticated specifications expressed in the so–called Linear Temporal Logic. In addition, our framework ensures that the temporal logic specification is satisfied even in the presence of an adversary that may instantaneously reposition the robot within the environment a finite number of times. This is achieved by obtaining a Büchi automaton realization of the temporal logic specification, which supervises a finite family of continuous feedback controllers, ensuring consistency between the discrete plan and the continuous execution. PublicationBayesian Regularization and Nonnegative Deconvolution for Time Delay Estimation(2004-12-13) Lin, Yuanqing; Lee, Daniel DBayesian Regularization and Nonnegative Deconvolution (BRAND) is proposed for estimating time delays of acoustic signals in reverberant environments. Sparsity of the nonnegative filter coefficients is enforced using an L1-norm regularization. A probabilistic generative model is used to simultaneously estimate the regularization parameters and filter coefficients from the signal data. Iterative update rules are derived under a Bayesian framework using the Expectation-Maximization procedure. The resulting time delay estimation algorithm is demonstrated on noisy acoustic data. PublicationCCSR: A Calculus for Communicating Shared Resources(1990-03-12) Gerber, Richard; Lee, InsupThe timing behavior of a real-time system depends not only on delays due to process synchronization, but also on the availability of shared resources. Most current real-time models capture delays due to process synchronization; however, they abstract out resource-specific details by assuming idealistic operating environments. On the other hand, scheduling and resource allocation algorithms used for real-time systems ignore the effect of process synchronization except for simple precedence relations between processes. To bridge the gap between these two disciplines, we have developed a formalism called Communicating Shared Resources, or CSR. This paper presents the priority-based process algebra called the Calculus for Communicating Shared Resources (CCSR), which provides an equational characterization of the CSR language. The computation model of CCSR is resource-based in that multiple resources execute synchronously, while processes assigned to the same resource are interleaved according to their priorities. CCSR possesses a prioritized strong equivalence for terms based on strong bisimulation. The paper also describes a producer and consumer problem whose correct timing behavior depends on priority. PublicationVideo Rate Visual Servoing for Robots(1989-02-01) Corke, Peter I; Paul, Richard PThis paper presents some preliminary experimental results in robotic visual servoing, utilizing a newly available hardware region-growing and moment-generation unit. A Unix-based workstation in conjunction with special purpose video processing hardware has been used to visually close the robot position loop at video field rate, 60Hz. The architecture and capabilities of the system are discussed. Performance of the closed-loop position control is investigated analytically and via step response tests, and experimental results are presented. Initial results are for 2 dimensional servoing, but extensions to 3 dimensional positioning are covered along with methods for monocular distance determination. Finally some limitations of the approach and areas for further work are covered. PublicationActive Sensing for Dynamic, Non-holonomic, Robust Visual Servoing(2014-05-01) De, Avik; Bayer, Karl S.; Koditschek, Daniel EWe consider the problem of visually servoing a legged vehicle with unicycle-like nonholonomic constraints subject to second-order fore-aft dynamics in its horizontal plane. We target applications to rugged environments characterized by complex terrain likely to perturb significantly the robot’s nominal dynamics. At the same time, it is crucial that the camera avoid “obstacle” poses where absolute localization would be compromised by even partial loss of landmark visibility. Hence, we seek a controller whose robustness against disturbances and obstacle avoidance capabilities can be assured by a strict global Lyapunov function. Since the nonholonomic constraints preclude smooth point stabilizability we introduce an extra degree of sensory freedom, affixing the camera to an actuated panning axis mounted on the robot’s back. Smooth stabilizability to the robot-orientation-indifferent goal cycle no longer precluded, we construct a controller and strict global Lyapunov function with the desired properties. We implement several versions of the scheme on a RHex robot maneuvering over slippery ground and document its successful empirical performance. For more information: Kod*Lab PublicationMetabolic Networks Analysis using Convex Optimization(2008-12-09) Julius, A. Agung; Imielinski, Marcin; Pappas, George JMetabolic networks map the biochemical reactions in a living cell to the flow of various chemical substances in the cell, which are called metabolites. A standard model of a metabolic network is given as a linear map from the reaction rates to the change in metabolites concentrations. We study two problems related to the analysis of metabolic networks, the minimal network problem and the minimal knockout problem.