Optimal plans in Constrained Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes (CPOMDPs) maximize reward objectives while satisfying hard cost constraints, generalizing safe planning under state and transition uncertainty. Unfortunately, online CPOMDP planning is extremely difficult in large or continuous problem domains. In many large robotic domains, hierarchical decomposition can simplify planning by using tools for low-level control given high-level action primitives (options). We introduce Constrained Options Belief Tree Search (COBeTS) to leverage this hierarchy and scale online search-based CPOMDP planning to large robotic problems. We show that if primitive option controllers are defined to satisfy assigned constraint budgets, then COBeTS will satisfy constraints anytime. Otherwise, COBeTS will guide the search towards a safe sequence of option primitives, and hierarchical monitoring can be used to achieve runtime safety. We demonstrate COBeTS in several safety-critical, constrained partially observable robotic domains, showing that it can plan successfully in continuous CPOMDPs while non-hierarchical baselines cannot.
* Under review for the 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics
and Automation (ICRA)
One of the bottlenecks of training autonomous vehicle (AV) agents is the variability of training environments. Since learning optimal policies for unseen environments is often very costly and requires substantial data collection, it becomes computationally intractable to train the agent on every possible environment or task the AV may encounter. This paper introduces a zero-shot filtering approach to interpolate learned policies of past experiences to generalize to unseen ones. We use an experience kernel to correlate environments. These correlations are then exploited to produce policies for new tasks or environments from learned policies. We demonstrate our methods on an autonomous vehicle driving through T-intersections with different characteristics, where its behavior is modeled as a partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP). We first construct compact representations of learned policies for POMDPs with unknown transition functions given a dataset of sequential actions and observations. Then, we filter parameterized policies of previously visited environments to generate policies to new, unseen environments. We demonstrate our approaches on both an actual AV and a high-fidelity simulator. Results indicate that our experience filter offers a fast, low-effort, and near-optimal solution to create policies for tasks or environments never seen before. Furthermore, the generated new policies outperform the policy learned using the entire data collected from past environments, suggesting that the correlation among different environments can be exploited and irrelevant ones can be filtered out.
* Accepted at IEEE Intelligent Vehicles Symposium (IV) 2023