Understanding Action and Sensing by Designing Action-Based Sensors

Michael Erdmann
International Journal of Robotics Research, Vol. 14, No. 5, 1995.


This paper proposes a method for automatically designing sensors from the specification of a robot's task, its actions, and its uncertainty in control. The sensors provide the information required by the robot to perform its task, despite uncertainty in sensing and control. The key idea is to generate a strategy for a robot task by using a backchaining planner that assumes perfect sensing while taking careful account of control uncertainty. The resulting plan indirectly specifies a sensor that tells the robot when to execute which action. Although the planner assumes perfect sensing information, the sensor need not actually provide perfect information. Instead, the sensor provides only the information required for the plan to function correctly.