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Authors:Hsin-Jung Yang, Joe Beck, Md Zahid Hasan, Ekin Beyazit, Subhadeep Chakraborty, Tichakorn Wongpiromsarn, Soumik Sarkar

Abstract:In the rapidly evolving field of autonomous systems, the safety and reliability of the system components are fundamental requirements. These components are often vulnerable to complex and unforeseen environments, making natural edge-case generation essential for enhancing system resilience. This paper presents GENESIS-RL, a novel framework that leverages system-level safety considerations and reinforcement learning techniques to systematically generate naturalistic edge cases. By simulating challenging conditions that mimic the real-world situations, our framework aims to rigorously test entire system's safety and reliability. Although demonstrated within the autonomous driving application, our methodology is adaptable across diverse autonomous systems. Our experimental validation, conducted on high-fidelity simulator underscores the overall effectiveness of this framework.

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Authors:Tichakorn Wongpiromsarn, Mahsa Ghasemi, Murat Cubuktepe, Georgios Bakirtzis, Steven Carr, Mustafa O. Karabag, Cyrus Neary, Parham Gohari, Ufuk Topcu

Abstract:Formal methods refer to rigorous, mathematical approaches to system development and have played a key role in establishing the correctness of safety-critical systems. The main building blocks of formal methods are models and specifications, which are analogous to behaviors and requirements in system design and give us the means to verify and synthesize system behaviors with formal guarantees. This monograph provides a survey of the current state of the art on applications of formal methods in the autonomous systems domain. We consider correct-by-construction synthesis under various formulations, including closed systems, reactive, and probabilistic settings. Beyond synthesizing systems in known environments, we address the concept of uncertainty and bound the behavior of systems that employ learning using formal methods. Further, we examine the synthesis of systems with monitoring, a mitigation technique for ensuring that once a system deviates from expected behavior, it knows a way of returning to normalcy. We also show how to overcome some limitations of formal methods themselves with learning. We conclude with future directions for formal methods in reinforcement learning, uncertainty, privacy, explainability of formal methods, and regulation and certification.

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Abstract:This paper studies the evaluation of learning-based object detection models in conjunction with model-checking of formal specifications defined on an abstract model of an autonomous system and its environment. In particular, we define two metrics -- \emph{proposition-labeled} and \emph{class-labeled} confusion matrices -- for evaluating object detection, and we incorporate these metrics to compute the satisfaction probability of system-level safety requirements. While confusion matrices have been effective for comparative evaluation of classification and object detection models, our framework fills two key gaps. First, we relate the performance of object detection to formal requirements defined over downstream high-level planning tasks. In particular, we provide empirical results that show that the choice of a good object detection algorithm, with respect to formal requirements on the overall system, significantly depends on the downstream planning and control design. Secondly, unlike the traditional confusion matrix, our metrics account for variations in performance with respect to the distance between the ego and the object being detected. We demonstrate this framework on a car-pedestrian example by computing the satisfaction probabilities for safety requirements formalized in Linear Temporal Logic (LTL).

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Authors:Bassam Helou, Aditya Dusi, Anne Collin, Noushin Mehdipour, Zhiliang Chen, Cristhian Lizarazo, Calin Belta, Tichakorn Wongpiromsarn, Radboud Duintjer Tebbens, Oscar Beijbom

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Abstract:Autonomous vehicles must balance a complex set of objectives. There is no consensus on how they should do so, nor on a model for specifying a desired driving behavior. We created a dataset to help address some of these questions in a limited operating domain. The data consists of 92 traffic scenarios, with multiple ways of traversing each scenario. Multiple annotators expressed their preference between pairs of scenario traversals. We used the data to compare an instance of a rulebook, carefully hand-crafted independently of the dataset, with several interpretable machine learning models such as Bayesian networks, decision trees, and logistic regression trained on the dataset. To compare driving behavior, these models use scores indicating by how much different scenario traversals violate each of 14 driving rules. The rules are interpretable and designed by subject-matter experts. First, we found that these rules were enough for these models to achieve a high classification accuracy on the dataset. Second, we found that the rulebook provides high interpretability without excessively sacrificing performance. Third, the data pointed to possible improvements in the rulebook and the rules, and to potential new rules. Fourth, we explored the interpretability vs performance trade-off by also training non-interpretable models such as a random forest. Finally, we make the dataset publicly available to encourage a discussion from the wider community on behavior specification for AVs. Please find it at github.com/bassam-motional/Reasonable-Crowd.

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Authors:Deepak-George Thomas, Daniil Olshanskyi, Karter Krueger, Tichakorn Wongpiromsarn, Ali Jannesari

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Abstract:The significant components of any successful autonomous flight system are task completion and collision avoidance. Most deep learning algorithms successfully execute these aspects under the environment and conditions they are trained. However, they fail when subjected to novel environments. This paper presents an autonomous multi-rotor flight algorithm, using Deep Reinforcement Learning augmented with Self-Attention Models, that can effectively reason when subjected to varying inputs. In addition to their reasoning ability, they are also interpretable, enabling it to be used under real-world conditions. We have tested our algorithm under different weather conditions and environments and found it robust compared to conventional Deep Reinforcement Learning algorithms.

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Abstract:In many autonomy applications, performance of perception algorithms is important for effective planning and control. In this paper, we introduce a framework for computing the probability of satisfaction of formal system specifications given a confusion matrix, a statistical average performance measure for multi-class classification. We define the probability of satisfaction of a linear temporal logic formula given a specific initial state of the agent and true state of the environment. Then, we present an algorithm to construct a Markov chain that represents the system behavior under the composition of the perception and control components such that the probability of the temporal logic formula computed over the Markov chain is consistent with the probability that the temporal logic formula is satisfied by our system. We illustrate this approach on a simple example of a car with pedestrian on the sidewalk environment, and compute the probability of satisfaction of safety requirements for varying parameters of the vehicle. We also illustrate how satisfaction probability changes with varied precision and recall derived from the confusion matrix. Based on our results, we identify several opportunities for future work in developing quantitative system-level analysis that incorporates perception models.

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Abstract:This paper considers the problem of computing an optimal trajectory for an autonomous system that is subject to a set of potentially conflicting rules. First, we introduce the concept of prioritized safety specifications, where each rule is expressed as a temporal logic formula with its associated weight and priority. The optimality is defined based on the violation of such prioritized safety specifications. We then introduce a class of temporal logic formulas called $\textrm{si-FLTL}_{\mathsf{G_X}}$ and develop an efficient, incremental sampling-based approach to solve this minimum-violation planning problem with guarantees on asymptotic optimality. We illustrate the application of the proposed approach in autonomous vehicles, showing that $\textrm{si-FLTL}_{\mathsf{G_X}}$ formulas are sufficiently expressive to describe many traffic rules. Finally, we discuss practical considerations and present simulation results for a vehicle overtaking scenario.

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Authors:Andrea Censi, Konstantin Slutsky, Tichakorn Wongpiromsarn, Dmitry Yershov, Scott Pendleton, James Fu, Emilio Frazzoli

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Abstract:The behavior of self-driving cars must be compatible with an enormous set of conflicting and ambiguous objectives, from law, from ethics, from the local culture, and so on. This paper describes a new way to conveniently define the desired behavior for autonomous agents, which we use on the self-driving cars developed at nuTonomy. We define a "rulebook" as a pre-ordered set of "rules", each akin to a violation metric on the possible outcomes ("realizations"). The rules are partially ordered by priority. The semantics of a rulebook imposes a pre-order on the set of realizations. We study the compositional properties of the rulebooks, and we derive which operations we can allow on the rulebooks to preserve previously-introduced constraints. While we demonstrate the application of these techniques in the self-driving domain, the methods are domain-independent.

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Abstract:In this paper, we present a method for optimal control synthesis of a plant that interacts with a set of agents in a graph-like environment. The control specification is given as a temporal logic statement about some properties that hold at the vertices of the environment. The plant is assumed to be deterministic, while the agents are probabilistic Markov models. The goal is to control the plant such that the probability of satisfying a syntactically co-safe Linear Temporal Logic formula is maximized. We propose a computationally efficient incremental approach based on the fact that temporal logic verification is computationally cheaper than synthesis. We present a case-study where we compare our approach to the classical non-incremental approach in terms of computation time and memory usage.

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Abstract:We consider the synthesis of control policies from temporal logic specifications for robots that interact with multiple dynamic environment agents. Each environment agent is modeled by a Markov chain whereas the robot is modeled by a finite transition system (in the deterministic case) or Markov decision process (in the stochastic case). Existing results in probabilistic verification are adapted to solve the synthesis problem. To partially address the state explosion issue, we propose an incremental approach where only a small subset of environment agents is incorporated in the synthesis procedure initially and more agents are successively added until we hit the constraints on computational resources. Our algorithm runs in an anytime fashion where the probability that the robot satisfies its specification increases as the algorithm progresses.

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