Natural Language Command of an Autonomous Micro-Air Vehicle

Albert Huang, Stefanie Tellex, Abraham Bachrach, Thomas Kollar, Deb Roy, Nick Roy


Natural language is a flexible and intuitive modality for conveying directions and commands to a robot but presents a number of computational challenges. Diverse words and phrases must be mapped into structures that the robot can understand, and elements in those structures must be grounded in an uncertain environment. In this paper we present a micro-air vehicle (MAV) capable of following natural language directions through a previously mapped and labeled environment. We extend our previous work in understanding 2D natural language directions to three dimensions, accommodating new verb modifiers such as go up and go down, and commands such as turn around and face the windows. We demonstrate the robot following directions created by a human for another human, and interactively executing commands in the context of surveillance and search and rescue in confined spaces. In an informal study, 71% of the paths computed from directions given by one user terminated within 10 m of the desired destination.

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