Today I read a paper titled “Unscented Bayesian Optimization for Safe Robot Grasping”
The abstract is:
We address the robot grasp optimization problem of unknown objects considering uncertainty in the input space.
Grasping unknown objects can be achieved by using a trial and error exploration strategy.
Bayesian optimization is a sample efficient optimization algorithm that is especially suitable for this setups as it actively reduces the number of trials for learning about the function to optimize.
In fact, this active object exploration is the same strategy that infants do to learn optimal grasps.
One problem that arises while learning grasping policies is that some configurations of grasp parameters may be very sensitive to error in the relative pose between the object and robot end-effector.
We call these configurations unsafe because small errors during grasp execution may turn good grasps into bad grasps.
Therefore, to reduce the risk of grasp failure, grasps should be planned in safe areas.
We propose a new algorithm, Unscented Bayesian optimization that is able to perform sample efficient optimization while taking into consideration input noise to find safe optima.
The contribution of Unscented Bayesian optimization is twofold as if provides a new decision process that drives exploration to safe regions and a new selection procedure that chooses the optimal in terms of its safety without extra analysis or computational cost.
Both contributions are rooted on the strong theory behind the unscented transformation, a popular nonlinear approximation method.
We show its advantages with respect to the classical Bayesian optimization both in synthetic problems and in realistic robot grasp simulations.
The results highlights that our method achieves optimal and robust grasping policies after few trials while the selected grasps remain in safe regions.