Hot-swapping robot task goals in reactive formal synthesis

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Scott C. Livingston and Richard M. Murray
Submitted, 2014 Conference on Decision and Control (CDC)

We consider the problem of synthesizing robot controllers to realize a task that unpredictably changes with time. Tasks are formally expressed in the GR(1) fragment of temporal logic, in which some of the variables are set by an adversary. The task changes by the addition or removal of goals, which occurs online (i.e., at run-time). We present an algorithm for mending control strategies to realize tasks after the addition of goals, while avoiding global re-synthesis of the strategy. Experiments are presented for a planar surveillance task in which new regions of interest are incrementally added. Run-times are empirically shown to be extremely favorable compared to re-synthesizing from scratch. We also present an algorithm for mending control strategies for the removal of goals. While in this setting the original strategy is still feasible (as we prove), our algorithm provides a more satisfying solution by “tightening loose ends.” Both algorithms are shown to yield so-called reach annotations, and thus the control strategies are easily amenable to other algorithms concerning incremental synthesis, e.g., as in previous work by the authors for robot navigation in uncertain environments.