, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 332-377

A temporal logic-based planning and execution monitoring framework for unmanned aircraft systems

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Abstract

Research with autonomous unmanned aircraft systems is reaching a new degree of sophistication where targeted missions require complex types of deliberative capability integrated in a practical manner in such systems. Due to these pragmatic constraints, integration is just as important as theoretical and applied work in developing the actual deliberative functionalities. In this article, we present a temporal logic-based task planning and execution monitoring framework and its integration into a fully deployed rotor-based unmanned aircraft system developed in our laboratory. We use a very challenging emergency services application involving body identification and supply delivery as a vehicle for showing the potential use of such a framework in real-world applications. TALplanner, a temporal logic-based task planner, is used to generate mission plans. Building further on the use of TAL (Temporal Action Logic), we show how knowledge gathered from the appropriate sensors during plan execution can be used to create state structures, incrementally building a partial logical model representing the actual development of the system and its environment over time. We then show how formulas in the same logic can be used to specify the desired behavior of the system and its environment and how violations of such formulas can be detected in a timely manner in an execution monitor subsystem. The pervasive use of logic throughout the higher level deliberative layers of the system architecture provides a solid shared declarative semantics that facilitates the transfer of knowledge between different modules.