[month] [year]

ICRA 2024

The following papers by RRC students with IIITH and CVIT faculty were accepted at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA-2024) held in Yokohama, Japan from 13 – 17 May. ICRA is a premier conference for robotics.

  • EDMP: Ensemble-of-costs-guided Diffusion for Motion Planning – Kallol Saha, Vishal Mandadi, Jayaram Reddy, Ajit Srikanth, Aditya Agarwal, Bipasha Sen, Arun Singh, Madhava Krishna. Here is the summary of the research work as explained by the authors:

Classical motion planning for robotic manipulation includes a set of general algorithms that aim to minimise a scene-specific cost of executing a given plan. This approach offers remarkable adaptability, as they can be directly used off the-shelf for any new scene without needing specific training datasets. However, without a prior understanding of what diverse valid trajectories are and without specially designed cost functions for a given scene, the overall solutions tend to have low success rates. While deep-learning-based algorithms tremendously improve success rates, they are much harder to adopt without specialised training datasets. We propose EDMP, an Ensemble-of-costs-guided Diffusion for Motion Planning that aims to combine the strengths of classical and deep learning-based motion planning. Our diffusion-based network is trained on a set of diverse kinematically valid trajectories. Like classical planning, for any new scene at the time of inference, we compute scene-specific costs such as ‘collision cost’ and guide the diffusion to generate valid trajectories that satisfy the scene-specific constraints. Further, instead of a single cost function that may be insufficient in capturing diversity across scenes, we use an ensemble of costs to guide the diffusion process, significantly improving the success rate compared to classical planners. EDMP performs comparably with SOTA deep-learning-based methods while retaining the generalisation capabilities primarily associated with classical planners

Link to the paper: https://ensemble-of-costs-diffusion.github.io/

  • AnyLoc: Towards Universal Visual Place Recognition – Nikhil Keetha, Avneesh Mishra, Jay Karhade, Krishna Murthy Jatavallabhula, Sebastian Scherer, Madhava Krishna, Sourav Garg. Here is the summary of the research work as explained by the authors:

Visual Place Recognition (VPR) is vital for robot localization. To date, the most performant VPR approaches are environment- and task-specific: while they exhibit strong performance in structured environments (predominantly urban driving), their performance degrades severely in unstructured environments, rendering most approaches brittle to robust realworld deployment. In this work, we develop a universal solution to VPR – a technique that works across a broad range of structured and unstructured environments (urban, outdoors, indoors, aerial, underwater, and subterranean environments) without any re-training or finetuning. We demonstrate that general-purpose feature representations derived from off-the shelf self-supervised models with no VPR-specific training are the right substrate upon which to build such a universal VPR solution. Combining these derived features with unsupervised feature aggregation enables our suite of methods, AnyLoc, to achieve up to 4× significantly higher performance than existing approaches. We further obtain a 6% improvement in performance by characterising the semantic properties of these features, uncovering unique domains which encapsulate datasets from similar environments. Our detailed experiments and analysis lay a foundation for building VPR solutions that may be deployed anywhere, anytime, and across anyview.

Link to the paper: https://anyloc.github.io/

  • Talk2BEV: Language-Enhanced Bird’s Eye View (BEV) Maps – Vikrant Dewangan, Tushar Choudhary, Shivam Chandhok, Shubham Priyadarshan, Anushka Jain, Arun K. Singh, Siddharth Srivastava, Krishna Murthy Jatavallabhula, K. Madhava Krishna. Here is the summary of the research work as explained by the authors:

Talk2BEV is a large vision-language model (LVLM) interface for bird’s-eye view (BEV) maps in autonomous driving contexts. While existing perception systems for autonomous driving scenarios have largely focused on a pre-defined (closed) set of object categories and driving scenarios, Talk2BEV blends recent advances in general-purpose language and vision models with BEV-structured map representations, eliminating the need for task-specific models. This enables a single system to cater to a variety of autonomous driving tasks encompassing visual and spatial reasoning, predicting the intents of traffic actors, and decision-making based on visual cues. We extensively evaluate Talk2BEV on a large number of scene understanding tasks that rely on both the ability to interpret free-form natural language queries, and in grounding these queries to the visual context embedded into the language-enhanced BEV map. To enable further research in LVLMs for autonomous driving scenarios, we develop and release Talk2BEV-Bench, a benchmark encompassing 1000 human-annotated BEV scenarios, with more than 20,000 questions and ground-truth responses from the NuScenes dataset.

Link to the paper: https://llmbev.github.io/talk2bev/

  • Anticipate & Act: Integrating LLMs and Classical Planning for Efficient Task Execution in Household Environments – Raghav Arora, Shivam Singh, Karthik Swaminathan, Ahana Datta, Snehasis Banerjee, Brojeshwar Bhowmick, Krishna Murthy Jatavallabhula, Mohan Sridharan, Madhava Krishna. Here is the summary of the research work as explained by the authors:

Assistive agents performing household tasks such as making the bed, preparing coffee, or cooking breakfast, often consider one task at a time by computing a plan of actions that accomplishes this task. The agents can be more efficient by anticipating upcoming tasks, and computing and executing an action sequence that jointly achieves these tasks. State of the art methods for task anticipating use data-driven deep network architectures and Large Language Models (LLMs) for task estimation but they do so at the level of high-level tasks and/or require a large number of training examples. Our framework leverages the generic knowledge of LLMs through a small number of prompts to perform high-level task anticipation, using the anticipated tasks as joint goals in a classical planning system to compute a sequence of finer-granularity actions that jointly achieve these goals. We ground and evaluate our framework’s capabilities in realistic simulated scenarios in the VirtualHome environment and demonstrate a 31% reduction in the execution time in comparison with a system that does not consider upcoming tasks.

Link to the paper: https://raraghavarora.github.io/ahsoka/

  • Anticipate & Collab: Data-driven Task Anticipation and Knowledge-driven Planning for Human-robot Collaboration – Shivam Singh, Karthik Swaminathan, Raghav Arora, Ramandeep Singh, Ahana Datta, Dipanjan Das, Snehasis Banerjee, Mohan Sridharan, Madhava Krishna. Here is the summary of the research work as explained by the authors:

An agent assisting humans in daily living activities can collaborate more effectively by anticipating upcoming tasks. Data-driven methods represent the state of the art in task anticipation, planning, and related problems, but these methods are resource-hungry and opaque. Our prior work introduced a proof of concept framework that used an LLM to anticipate 3 high-level tasks that served as goals for a classical planning system that computed a sequence of low-level actions for the agent to achieve these goals. This paper describes DaTAPlan, our framework that significantly extends our prior work toward human-robot collaboration. Specifically, DaTAPlan’s planner computes actions for an agent and a human to collaboratively and jointly achieve the tasks anticipated by the LLM, and the agent automatically adapts to unexpected changes in human action outcomes and preferences. We evaluate DaTAPlan’s capabilities in a realistic simulation environment, demonstrating accurate task anticipation, effective human-robot collaboration, and the ability to adapt to unexpected changes.

Link to the paper: https://dataplan-hrc.github.io/

  • ATPPNet: Attention based Temporal Point cloud Prediction Network – Kaustab Pal, Aditya Sharma, Avinash Sharma, K. Madhava Krishna. Here is the summary of the research work as explained by the authors:

Point cloud prediction is an important yet challenging task in the field of autonomous driving. The goal is to predict future point cloud sequences that maintain object structures while accurately representing their temporal motion. These predicted point clouds help in other subsequent tasks like object trajectory estimation for collision avoidance or estimating locations with the least odometry drift. In this work, we present ATPPNet, a novel architecture that predicts future point cloud sequences given a sequence of previous time step point clouds obtained with LiDAR sensor. ATPPNet leverages Conv-LSTM along with channel-wise and spatial attention dually complemented by a 3D-CNN branch for extracting an enhanced spatio-temporal context to recover high quality fidel predictions of future point clouds. We conduct extensive experiments on publicly available datasets and report impressive performance outperforming the existing methods. We also conduct a thorough ablative study of the proposed architecture and provide an application study that highlights the potential of our model for tasks like odometry estimation.

Link to the paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/2401.17399

The 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA2024) is the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society’s flagship conference. This year’s conference theme was “CONNECT+,” reflecting the conference’s aim of helping to build relationships and potential collaborations with participants within and outside their field of study. ICRA brought together robotics researchers, students and industrial partners from around the world to discuss the latest innovations and breakthroughs, highlighting the role of robotics and automation in addressing global challenges. ICRA 2024 had plenary and keynote sessions, contributed paper sessions, workshops and tutorial sessions, forums, expo and exhibitions from our corporate partners, robot competitions and numerous social events.

 Conference page:  https://2024.ieee-icra.org/


June 2024