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Perceptions or Actions? Grounding How Agents Interact Within a Software Architecture for Cognitive Robotics

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Abstract

One of the aims of cognitive robotics is to endow robots with the ability to plan solutions for complex goals and then to enact those plans. Additionally, robots should react properly upon encountering unexpected changes in their environment that are not part of their planned course of actions. This requires a close coupling between deliberative and reactive control flows. From the perspective of robotics, this coupling generally entails a tightly integrated perceptuomotor system, which is then loosely connected to some specific form of deliberative system such as a planner. From the high-level perspective of automated planning, the emphasis is on a highly functional system that, taken to its extreme, calls perceptual and motor modules as services when required. This paper proposes to join the perceptual and acting perspectives via a unique representation where the responses of all software modules in the architecture are generalized using the same set of tokens. The proposed representation integrates symbolic and metric information. The proposed approach has been successfully tested in CLARC, a robot that performs Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments of elderly patients. The robot was favourably appraised in a survey conducted to assess its behaviour. For instance, using a 5-point Likert scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree), patients reported an average of 4.86 when asked if they felt confident during the interaction with the robot. This paper proposes a mechanism for bringing the perceptual and acting perspectives closer within a distributed robotics architecture. The idea is built on top of the blackboard model and scene graphs. The modules in our proposal communicate using a short-term memory, writing the perceptual information they need to share with other agents and accessing the information they need for determining the next goals to address.

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    http://www.mira-project.org/joomla-mira/

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Acknowledgements

The authors warmly thank the members of the ”Amis du Living Lab” community and the patients and clinicians of Hospital Virgen del Rocío (Seville) for their participation in this research.

Funding Information

This work has been partially funded by the EU ECHORD++ project (FP7-ICT-601116) and the RTI2018-099522-B (MICINN and FEDER funds).

Author information

Correspondence to A. Bandera.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Rebeca Marfil, Adrián Romero-Garcés, Juan P. Bandera, Luis J. Manso, Luis V. Calderita, Pablo Bustos, Antonio Bandera, Fernando Fernández and Dimitri Voilmy declare that they have no conflict of interest. Javier García is partially supported by funds from the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) under research project 2016-T2/TIC-1712.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Marfil, R., Romero-Garces, A., Bandera, J.P. et al. Perceptions or Actions? Grounding How Agents Interact Within a Software Architecture for Cognitive Robotics. Cogn Comput (2019) doi:10.1007/s12559-019-09685-5

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Keywords

  • Cognitive robotics
  • Automatic planning
  • Software architectures