Orbital angular momentum (OAM)-carrying beams have gained significant attention in recent years due to their unique properties and potential to improve spectral efficiency and data transmission rates in optical communication systems. However, fully exploiting the capabilities of the entire OAM mode spectrum remains challenging. The emergence of AI-driven OAM mode identification has revolutionized the demultiplexing process within optical communication channels. OAM beams with different orders are orthogonal, allowing each beam to serve as a distinct signal carrier. Combining multiple OAM beams can effectively enhance channel capacity. In this paper, we adopt speckle-learned demultiplexing to demultiplex OAM beams via its speckle pattern that is more resilient to alignment and noise. However, the use of only non-intensity degenerate beams limits the utilization of multiplexing resources. This approach aims to fully leverage the full spectrum of OAM beams by introducing astigmatism in far-field speckle patterns using a tilted spherical convex lens. We then conduct a comprehensive analysis of two innovative information encoding techniques: OAM shift keying and OAM multiplexing. We successfully demonstrate an optical communication link encoded using both OAM shift keying and OAM multiplexing, followed by accurate decoding via speckle-learned demultiplexing.
Coverage control is the problem of navigating a robot swarm to collaboratively monitor features or a phenomenon of interest not known a priori. The problem is challenging in decentralized settings with robots that have limited communication and sensing capabilities. We propose a learnable Perception-Action-Communication (LPAC) architecture for the problem, wherein a convolution neural network (CNN) processes localized perception; a graph neural network (GNN) facilitates robot communications; finally, a shallow multi-layer perceptron (MLP) computes robot actions. The GNN enables collaboration in the robot swarm by computing what information to communicate with nearby robots and how to incorporate received information. Evaluations show that the LPAC models -- trained using imitation learning -- outperform standard decentralized and centralized coverage control algorithms. The learned policy generalizes to environments different from the training dataset, transfers to larger environments with more robots, and is robust to noisy position estimates. The results indicate the suitability of LPAC architectures for decentralized navigation in robot swarms to achieve collaborative behavior.
Motivated by the increasing use of quadrotors for payload delivery, we consider a joint trajectory generation and feedback control design problem for a quadrotor experiencing aerodynamic wrenches. Unmodeled aerodynamic drag forces from carried payloads can lead to catastrophic outcomes. Prior work model aerodynamic effects as residual dynamics or external disturbances in the control problem leading to a reactive policy that could be catastrophic. Moreover, redesigning controllers and tuning control gains on hardware platforms is a laborious effort. In this paper, we argue that adapting the trajectory generation component keeping the controller fixed can improve trajectory tracking for quadrotor systems experiencing drag forces. To achieve this, we formulate a drag-aware planning problem by applying a suitable relaxation to an optimal quadrotor control problem, introducing a tracking cost function which measures the ability of a controller to follow a reference trajectory. This tracking cost function acts as a regularizer in trajectory generation and is learned from data obtained from simulation. Our experiments in both simulation and on the Crazyflie hardware platform show that changing the planner reduces tracking error by as much as 83%. Evaluation on hardware demonstrates that our planned path, as opposed to a baseline, avoids controller saturation and catastrophic outcomes during aggressive maneuvers.
We present EvDNeRF, a pipeline for generating event data and training an event-based dynamic NeRF, for the purpose of faithfully reconstructing eventstreams on scenes with rigid and non-rigid deformations that may be too fast to capture with a standard camera. Event cameras register asynchronous per-pixel brightness changes at MHz rates with high dynamic range, making them ideal for observing fast motion with almost no motion blur. Neural radiance fields (NeRFs) offer visual-quality geometric-based learnable rendering, but prior work with events has only considered reconstruction of static scenes. Our EvDNeRF can predict eventstreams of dynamic scenes from a static or moving viewpoint between any desired timestamps, thereby allowing it to be used as an event-based simulator for a given scene. We show that by training on varied batch sizes of events, we can improve test-time predictions of events at fine time resolutions, outperforming baselines that pair standard dynamic NeRFs with event simulators. We release our simulated and real datasets, as well as code for both event-based data generation and the training of event-based dynamic NeRF models (https://github.com/anish-bhattacharya/EvDNeRF).
Data collection for forestry, timber, and agriculture currently relies on manual techniques which are labor-intensive and time-consuming. We seek to demonstrate that robotics offers improvements over these techniques and accelerate agricultural research, beginning with semantic segmentation and diameter estimation of trees in forests and orchards. We present TreeScope v1.0, the first robotics dataset for precision agriculture and forestry addressing the counting and mapping of trees in forestry and orchards. TreeScope provides LiDAR data from agricultural environments collected with robotics platforms, such as UAV and mobile robot platforms carried by vehicles and human operators. In the first release of this dataset, we provide ground-truth data with over 1,800 manually annotated semantic labels for tree stems and field-measured tree diameters. We share benchmark scripts for these tasks that researchers may use to evaluate the accuracy of their algorithms. Finally, we run our open-source diameter estimation and off-the-shelf semantic segmentation algorithms and share our baseline results.
* Submitted to 2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and
Automation (ICRA 2024) for review
This paper deals with the Multi-robot Exploration (MRE) under communication constraints problem. We propose a novel intermittent rendezvous method that allows robots to explore an unknown environment while sharing maps at rendezvous locations through agreements. In our method, robots update the agreements to spread the rendezvous locations during the exploration and prioritize exploring unknown areas near them. To generate the agreements automatically, we reduced the MRE to instances of the Job Shop Scheduling Problem (JSSP) and ensured intermittent communication through a temporal connectivity graph. We evaluate our method in simulation in various virtual urban environments and a Gazebo simulation using the Robot Operating System (ROS). Our results suggest that our method can be better than using relays or maintaining intermittent communication with a base station since we can explore faster without additional hardware to create a relay network.
Multi-robot collaboration in large-scale environments with limited-sized teams and without external infrastructure is challenging, since the software framework required to support complex tasks must be robust to unreliable and intermittent communication links. In this work, we present MOCHA (Multi-robot Opportunistic Communication for Heterogeneous Collaboration), a framework for resilient multi-robot collaboration that enables large-scale exploration in the absence of continuous communications. MOCHA is based on a gossip communication protocol that allows robots to interact opportunistically whenever communication links are available, propagating information on a peer-to-peer basis. We demonstrate the performance of MOCHA through real-world experiments with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) communication hardware. We further explore the system's scalability in simulation, evaluating the performance of our approach as the number of robots increases and communication ranges vary. Finally, we demonstrate how MOCHA can be tightly integrated with the planning stack of autonomous robots. We show a communication-aware planning algorithm for a high-altitude aerial robot executing a collaborative task while maximizing the amount of information shared with ground robots. The source code for MOCHA and the high-altitude UAV planning system is available open source: http://github.com/KumarRobotics/MOCHA, http://github.com/KumarRobotics/air_router.
This paper presents a novel learning-based trajectory planning framework for quadrotors that combines model-based optimization techniques with deep learning. Specifically, we formulate the trajectory optimization problem as a quadratic programming (QP) problem with dynamic and collision-free constraints using piecewise trajectory segments through safe flight corridors . We train neural networks to directly learn the time allocation for each segment to generate optimal smooth and fast trajectories. Furthermore, the constrained optimization problem is applied as a separate implicit layer for back-propagating in the network, for which the differential loss function can be obtained. We introduce an additional penalty function to penalize time allocations which result in solutions that violate the constraints to accelerate the training process and increase the success rate of the original optimization problem. To this end, we enable a flexible number of sequences of piece-wise trajectories by adding an extra end-of-sentence token during training. We illustrate the performance of the proposed method via extensive simulation and experimentation and show that it works in real time in diverse, cluttered environments.
We propose a method for providing communication network infrastructure in autonomous multi-agent teams. In particular, we consider a set of communication agents that are placed alongside regular agents from the system in order to improve the rate of information transfer between the latter. In order to find the optimal positions to place such agents, we define a flexible performance function that adapts to network requirements for different systems. We provide an algorithm based on shadow prices of a related convex optimization problem in order to drive the configuration of the complete system towards a local maximum. We apply our method to three different performance functions associated with three practical scenarios in which we show both the performance of the algorithm and the flexibility it allows for optimizing different network requirements.
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