Rational Handling of Multiple Goals for Mobile Robots

Richard Goodwin and Reid Simmons,

School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

The mobile robot planning domain is dynamic, with goals becoming active asynchronously. In order to successfully operate in this environment, a robot must be able to interrupt and reformulate its plan of action on-the-fly. This report investigates a method for incorporating the accomplishment of a new goal into a partially executed plan. A decision theoretic approach using net present value as the decision criterion serves as the basis for determining goal ordering dynamically. The appropriateness of net present value over other criteria is argued. The approach has been implemented on a robot operating in an office setting. Examples from this domain and a planetary exploration domain are used to show the advantages of the approach with respect to fixed priority and heuristic approaches.