Find my office: Navigating real space from semantic descriptions

21 May 2016
Ben TalbotObadiah LamRuth SchulzFeras DayoubBen UpcroftGordon Wyeth
Layouts for unseen spaces are imagined using the abstract map, then observations then reconcile imagination with reality

This paper shows that by using only symbolic language phrases, a mobile robot can purposefully navigate to specified rooms in previously unexplored environments. The robot intelligently organises a symbolic language description of the unseen environment and “imagines” a representative map, called the abstract map. The abstract map is an internal representation of the topological structure and spatial layout of symbolically defined locations. To perform goal-directed exploration, the abstract map creates a high-level semantic plan to reason about spaces beyond the robot's known world. While completing the plan, the robot uses the metric guidance provided by a spatial layout, and grounded observations of door labels, to efficiently guide its navigation. The system is shown to complete exploration in unexplored spaces by travelling only 13.3% further than the optimal path.

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