Reactivity in a Logic-Based Robot Programming Framework

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A robot must often react to events in its environment and exceptional conditions by suspending or abandoning its current plan and selecting a new plan that is an appropriate response to the event. This paper describes how high-level controllers for robots that are reactive in this sense can conveniently be implemented in ConGolog, a new logic-based agent/robot programming language. Reactivity is achieved by exploiting ConGolog’s prioritized concurrent processes and interrupts facilities. The language also provides nondeterministic constructs that support a form of planning. Program execution relies on a declarative domain theory to model the state of the robot and its environment. The approach is illustrated with a mail delivery application.

The research described received financial support from Communications and Information Technology Ontario (and its earlier incarnation ITRC) and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Hector Levesque came up with the idea of handling sensing through exogenous events; he also helped with the iterative deepening route planning procedure. Ho Kong Ng did much of the work involved in porting the controller to the Nomad Super Scout and testing the resulting system. We thank them as well as Ray Reiter, Jeff Lloyd, Mikhail Soutchanski, Giuseppe De Giacomo, and Daniele Nardi for helpful discussions related to this work. Many of our papers are available at url