Investigating Scene Understanding for Robotic Grasping: From Pose Estimation to Explainable AI
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In the rapidly evolving field of robotics, the ability to accurately grasp and manipulate objects—known as robotic grasping—is a cornerstone of autonomous operation. This capability is pivotal across a multitude of applications, from industrial manufacturing automation to supply chain management, and is a key determinant of a robot's ability to interact effectively with its environment. Central to this capability is the concept of scene understanding, a complex task that involves interpreting the robot's environment to facilitate decision-making and action planning. This thesis presents a comprehensive exploration of scene understanding for robotic grasping, with a particular emphasis on pose estimation, a critical aspect of scene understanding. Pose estimation, the process of determining the position and orientation of objects within the robot's environment, is a crucial component of robotic grasping. It provides the robot with the necessary spatial information about the objects in the scene, enabling it to plan and execute grasping actions effectively. However, many current pose estimation methods provide relative pose compared to a 3D model, which lacks descriptiveness without referencing the 3D model. This thesis explores the use of keypoints and superquadrics as more general and descriptive representations of an object's pose. These novel approaches address the limitations of traditional methods and significantly enhance the generalizability and descriptiveness of pose estimation, thereby improving the overall effectiveness of robotic grasping. In addition to pose estimation, this thesis briefly touches upon the importance of uncertainty estimation and explainable AI in the context of robotic grasping. It introduces the concept of multimodal consistency for uncertainty estimation, providing a reliable measure of uncertainty that can enhance decision-making in human-in-the-loop situations. Furthermore, it explores the realm of explainable AI, presenting a method for gaining deeper insights into deep learning models, thereby enhancing their transparency and interpretability. In summary, this thesis presents a comprehensive approach to scene understanding for robotic grasping, with a particular emphasis on pose estimation. It addresses key challenges and advances the state of the art in this critical area of robotics research. The research is structured around five published papers, each contributing to a unique aspect of the overall study.
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E Zhixuan Zeng (2023). Investigating Scene Understanding for Robotic Grasping: From Pose Estimation to Explainable AI. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19919