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Issa Nesnas

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Semantic Anomaly Detection with Large Language Models

May 18, 2023
Amine Elhafsi, Rohan Sinha, Christopher Agia, Edward Schmerling, Issa Nesnas, Marco Pavone

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As robots acquire increasingly sophisticated skills and see increasingly complex and varied environments, the threat of an edge case or anomalous failure is ever present. For example, Tesla cars have seen interesting failure modes ranging from autopilot disengagements due to inactive traffic lights carried by trucks to phantom braking caused by images of stop signs on roadside billboards. These system-level failures are not due to failures of any individual component of the autonomy stack but rather system-level deficiencies in semantic reasoning. Such edge cases, which we call \textit{semantic anomalies}, are simple for a human to disentangle yet require insightful reasoning. To this end, we study the application of large language models (LLMs), endowed with broad contextual understanding and reasoning capabilities, to recognize these edge semantic cases. We introduce a monitoring framework for semantic anomaly detection in vision-based policies to do so. Our experiments evaluate this framework in monitoring a learned policy for object manipulation and a finite state machine policy for autonomous driving and demonstrate that an LLM-based monitor can serve as a proxy for human reasoning. Finally, we provide an extended discussion on the strengths and weaknesses of this approach and motivate a research outlook on how we can further use foundation models for semantic anomaly detection.

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Advancing the Scientific Frontier with Increasingly Autonomous Systems

Sep 15, 2020
Rashied Amini, Abigail Azari, Shyam Bhaskaran, Patricia Beauchamp, Julie Castillo-Rogez, Rebecca Castano, Seung Chung, John Day, Richard Doyle, Martin Feather, Lorraine Fesq, Jeremy Frank, P. Michael Furlong, Michel Ingham, Brian Kennedy, Ksenia Kolcio, Issa Nesnas, Robert Rasmussen, Glenn Reeves, Cristina Sorice, Bethany Theiling, Jay Wyatt

A close partnership between people and partially autonomous machines has enabled decades of space exploration. But to further expand our horizons, our systems must become more capable. Increasing the nature and degree of autonomy - allowing our systems to make and act on their own decisions as directed by mission teams - enables new science capabilities and enhances science return. The 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey (PSDS) and on-going pre-Decadal mission studies have identified increased autonomy as a core technology required for future missions. However, even as scientific discovery has necessitated the development of autonomous systems and past flight demonstrations have been successful, institutional barriers have limited its maturation and infusion on existing planetary missions. Consequently, the authors and endorsers of this paper recommend that new programmatic pathways be developed to infuse autonomy, infrastructure for support autonomous systems be invested in, new practices be adopted, and the cost-saving value of autonomy for operations be studied.

* 10 pages (compared to 8 submitted to PSADS), 2 figures, submitted to National Academy of Sciences Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032 
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