Symbolic Planning and Control of Robot Motion: State of the Art and Grand Challenges
Egerstedt, Magnus B.
Pappas, George J.
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In this paper, different research trends that use symbolic techniques for robot motion planning and control are illustrated. As it often happens in new research areas, contributions to this topic started at about the same time by different groups with different emphasis, approaches, and notation. This article tries to describe a framework in which many of the current methods and ideas can be placed and to provide a coherent picture of what the authors want to do, what have they got so far, and what the main missing pieces are. Generally speaking, the aim of symbolic control as is envisioned in this article is to enable the usage of methods of formal logic, languages, and automata theory for solving effectively complex planning problems for robots and teams of robots. The results presented in this article can be divided in two groups: top-down approaches, whereby formal logic tools are employed on rather abstract models of robots; and bottom up approaches, whose aim is to provide means by which such abstractions are possible and effective. The two ends do not quite tie as yet, and much work remains to be done in both directions to obtain generally applicable methods. However, the prospects of symbolic control of robots are definitely promising, and the challenging nature of problems to be solved warrants for the interest of a wide community of researchers.