Carnegie Mellon University
Tractable Particle Filters for Robot Fault Diagnosis

Vandi Verma
doctoral dissertation, tech. report , Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, May, 2005

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Experience has shown that even carefully designed and tested robots may encounter anomalous situations. It is therefore important for robots to monitor their state so that anomalous situations may be detected in a timely manner. Robot fault diagnosis typically requires tracking a very large number of possible faults in complex non-linear dynamic systems with noisy sensors. Traditional methods either ignore the uncertainly or use linear approximations of nonlinear system dynamics. Such approximations are often unrealistic, and as a result faults either go undetected or become confused with non-fault conditions.

Probability theory provides a natural representation for uncertainty, but an exact Bayesian solution for the diagnosis problem is intractable. Monte Carlo approximations have demonstrated considerable success in application domains such as computer vision and robot localization and mapping. But, classical Monte Carlo methods, such as particle filters, can suffer from substantial computational complexity. This is particularly true with the presence of rare, yet important events, such as many system faults.

The thesis makes contributions to the theory of probabilistic state-estimation to solve this problem. It presents a novel approach that outperforms existing algorithms (in terms of computational efficiency) for reliably estimating the state of general (nonlinear, non-Gaussian) dynamic systems in real-time in the presence of uncertainty (including rare events such as faults).

The thesis presents a set of complementary algorithms that provide an approach for computationally tractable fault diagnosis. These algorithms leverage probabilistic approaches to decision theory and information theory to efficiently track a large number of faults in a general dynamic system with noisy measurements. The problem of fault diagnosis is represented as hybrid (discrete/continuous) state estimation. Taking advantage of structure in the domain it dynamically concentrates computation in the regions of state space that are currently most relevant without losing track of less likely states. Experiments with a dynamic simulation of a six-wheel rocker-bogie rover show a significant improvement in performance over the classical approach.

Associated Lab(s) / Group(s): Reliable Autonomous Systems Lab
Number of pages: 116

Text Reference
Vandi Verma, "Tractable Particle Filters for Robot Fault Diagnosis," doctoral dissertation, tech. report , Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, May, 2005

BibTeX Reference
   author = "Vandi Verma",
   title = "Tractable Particle Filters for Robot Fault Diagnosis",
   booktitle = "",
   school = "Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University",
   month = "May",
   year = "2005",