Our paper entitled “POMDP-Guided Active Force-Based Search for Robotic Insertion” is accepted by IROS 2023.
In robotic insertion tasks where the uncertainty exceeds the allowable tolerance, a good search strategy is essential for successful insertion and significantly influences efficiency. The commonly used blind search method is timeconsuming and does not exploit the rich contact information. In this paper, we propose a novel search strategy that actively utilizes the information contained in the contact configurationand shows high efficiency. In particular, we formulate this problem as a Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (POMDP) with carefully designed primitives based on an indepth analysis of the contact configuration’s static stability. From the formulated POMDP, we can derive a novel search strategy. Thanks to its simplicity, this search strategy can be incorporated into a Finite-State-Machine (FSM) controller. The behaviors of the FSM controller are realized through a lowlevel Cartesian Impedance Controller. Our method is based purely on the robot’s proprioceptive sensing and does not need visual or tactile sensors. To evaluate the effectiveness of our proposed strategy and control framework, we conduct extensive comparison experiments in simulation, where we compare our method with the baseline approach. The results demonstrate that our proposed method achieves a higher success rate with a shorter search time and search trajectory length compared to the baseline method. Additionally, we show that our method is robust to various initial displacement errors.