Unexpected Situations in Service Robot Environment: Classification and Reasoning Using Naive Physics

  • Anastassia Küstenmacher
  • Naveed Akhtar
  • Paul G. Plöger
  • Gerhard Lakemeyer
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8371)


Despite perfect functioning of its internal components, a robot can be unsuccessful in performing its tasks because of unforeseen situations. Mostly these situations arise from the interaction of a robot with its ever-changing environment. In this paper we refer to these unsuccessful operations as external unknown faults. We reason along the most frequent failures in typical scenarios which we observed during real-world demonstrations and competitions using our Care-O-bot III robot. These events take place in an apartment-like environment.

We create four different - for now adhoc - fault classes, which refer to faults caused by a) disturbances, b) imperfect perception, c) inadequate planning or d) chaining of action sequences. These four fault classes can then be mapped to a handful of partly known, partly extended fault handling techniques.

In addition to existing techniques we propose an approach that uses naive physics concepts to find information about these kinds of situations. Here the naive physics knowledge is represented by the physical properties of objects which are formalized in a logical framework. The proposed approach applies a qualitative version of physical laws to these properties to reason about the fault. By interpreting the results the robot finds the information about the situations which can cause the fault. We apply this approach to scenarios in which a robot performs manipulation tasks (pick and place). The results show that naive physics hold great promises for reasoning about unknown external faults in the field of robotics.


faults in robotics unexpected situations naive physics 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anastassia Küstenmacher
    • 1
  • Naveed Akhtar
    • 1
  • Paul G. Plöger
    • 1
  • Gerhard Lakemeyer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceBonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Apply ScienceSankt AugustinGermany
  2. 2.Knowledge-Based Systems GroupRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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