Metta, Giorgio and Natale, Lorenzo and Pathak, Shashank and Pulina, Luca and Tacchella, Armando (2010) Safe and effective learning: a case study. In: 2010 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 3-7 May 2010, Anchorage (AK), USA. Piscataway, IEEE. p. 4809-4814. ISSN 1050-4729. ISBN 978-1-4244-5038-1. eISBN 978-1-4244-5040-4. Conference or Workshop Item.
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In this paper we consider the problem of ensuring that a multi-agent robot control system is both safe and effective in the presence of learning components. Safety, i.e., proving that a potentially dangerous configuration is never reached in the control system, usually competes with effectiveness, i.e., ensuring that tasks are performed at an acceptable level of quality. In particular, we focus on a robot playing the air hockey game against a human opponent, where the robot has to learn how to minimize opponent’s goals (defense play). This setup is paradigmatic since the robot must see, decide and move fastly, but, at the same time, it must learn and guarantee that the control system is safe throughout the process. We attack this problem using automata-theoretic formalisms and associated verification tools, showing experimentally that our approach can yield safety without heavily compromising effectiveness.
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