Energy-Constrained Active Exploration Under Incremental-Resolution Symbolic Perception

Published date: 
Wednesday, December 13, 2023

We consider the problem of autonomous exploration in search of targets while respecting a fixed energy budget. The robot is equipped with an incremental-resolution symbolic perception module wherein the perception of targets in the environment improves as the robot's distance from targets decreases. We assume no prior information about the number of targets, their locations, and possible distribution within the environment. This work proposes a novel decision-making framework for the resulting constrained sequential decision- making problem by first converting it into a reward maximization problem on a product graph computed offline. It is then solved online as a Mixed-Integer Linear Program (MILP) where the knowledge about the environment is updated at each step, combining automata-based and MILP-based techniques. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approach with the help of a case study and present empirical evaluation. Furthermore, the runtime performance shows that online planning can be efficiently performed for moderately-sized grid environments.