24 research outputs found

    Online Update of Safety Assurances Using Confidence-Based Predictions

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    Robots such as autonomous vehicles and assistive manipulators are increasingly operating in dynamic environments and close physical proximity to people. In such scenarios, the robot can leverage a human motion predictor to predict their future states and plan safe and efficient trajectories. However, no model is ever perfect -- when the observed human behavior deviates from the model predictions, the robot might plan unsafe maneuvers. Recent works have explored maintaining a confidence parameter in the human model to overcome this challenge, wherein the predicted human actions are tempered online based on the likelihood of the observed human action under the prediction model. This has opened up a new research challenge, i.e., \textit{how to compute the future human states online as the confidence parameter changes?} In this work, we propose a Hamilton-Jacobi (HJ) reachability-based approach to overcome this challenge. Treating the confidence parameter as a virtual state in the system, we compute a parameter-conditioned forward reachable tube (FRT) that provides the future human states as a function of the confidence parameter. Online, as the confidence parameter changes, we can simply query the corresponding FRT, and use it to update the robot plan. Computing parameter-conditioned FRT corresponds to an (offline) high-dimensional reachability problem, which we solve by leveraging recent advances in data-driven reachability analysis. Overall, our framework enables online maintenance and updates of safety assurances in human-robot interaction scenarios, even when the human prediction model is incorrect. We demonstrate our approach in several safety-critical autonomous driving scenarios, involving a state-of-the-art deep learning-based prediction model.Comment: 7 pages, 3 figure

    MBMF: Model-Based Priors for Model-Free Reinforcement Learning

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    Reinforcement Learning is divided in two main paradigms: model-free and model-based. Each of these two paradigms has strengths and limitations, and has been successfully applied to real world domains that are appropriate to its corresponding strengths. In this paper, we present a new approach aimed at bridging the gap between these two paradigms. We aim to take the best of the two paradigms and combine them in an approach that is at the same time data-efficient and cost-savvy. We do so by learning a probabilistic dynamics model and leveraging it as a prior for the intertwined model-free optimization. As a result, our approach can exploit the generality and structure of the dynamics model, but is also capable of ignoring its inevitable inaccuracies, by directly incorporating the evidence provided by the direct observation of the cost. Preliminary results demonstrate that our approach outperforms purely model-based and model-free approaches, as well as the approach of simply switching from a model-based to a model-free setting.Comment: After we submitted the paper for consideration in CoRL 2017 we found a paper published in the recent past with a similar method (see related work for a discussion). Considering the similarities between the two papers, we have decided to retract our paper from CoRL 201

    Detecting and Mitigating System-Level Anomalies of Vision-Based Controllers

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    Autonomous systems, such as self-driving cars and drones, have made significant strides in recent years by leveraging visual inputs and machine learning for decision-making and control. Despite their impressive performance, these vision-based controllers can make erroneous predictions when faced with novel or out-of-distribution inputs. Such errors can cascade to catastrophic system failures and compromise system safety. In this work, we introduce a run-time anomaly monitor to detect and mitigate such closed-loop, system-level failures. Specifically, we leverage a reachability-based framework to stress-test the vision-based controller offline and mine its system-level failures. This data is then used to train a classifier that is leveraged online to flag inputs that might cause system breakdowns. The anomaly detector highlights issues that transcend individual modules and pertain to the safety of the overall system. We also design a fallback controller that robustly handles these detected anomalies to preserve system safety. We validate the proposed approach on an autonomous aircraft taxiing system that uses a vision-based controller for taxiing. Our results show the efficacy of the proposed approach in identifying and handling system-level anomalies, outperforming methods such as prediction error-based detection, and ensembling, thereby enhancing the overall safety and robustness of autonomous systems

    Parameter-Conditioned Reachable Sets for Updating Safety Assurances Online

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    Hamilton-Jacobi (HJ) reachability analysis is a powerful tool for analyzing the safety of autonomous systems. However, the provided safety assurances are often predicated on the assumption that once deployed, the system or its environment does not evolve. Online, however, an autonomous system might experience changes in system dynamics, control authority, external disturbances, and/or the surrounding environment, requiring updated safety assurances. Rather than restarting the safety analysis from scratch, which can be time-consuming and often intractable to perform online, we propose to compute \textit{parameter-conditioned} reachable sets. Assuming expected system and environment changes can be parameterized, we treat these parameters as virtual states in the system and leverage recent advances in high-dimensional reachability analysis to solve the corresponding reachability problem offline. This results in a family of reachable sets that is parameterized by the environment and system factors. Online, as these factors change, the system can simply query the corresponding safety function from this family to ensure system safety, enabling a real-time update of the safety assurances. Through various simulation studies, we demonstrate the capability of our approach in maintaining system safety despite the system and environment evolution
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