Improving Robot Controller Transparency Through Autonomous Policy Explanation

TitleImproving Robot Controller Transparency Through Autonomous Policy Explanation
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference2017
AuthorsHayes, B., and J. A. Shah
Conference NameACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction (HRI)
Date Published03/2017

Shared expectations and mutual understanding are critical facets of teamwork. Achieving these in human-robot collaborative contexts can be especially challenging, as humans and robots are unlikely to share a common language to convey intentions, plans, or justifications. Even in cases where human co-workers can inspect a robot’s control code, and particularly when statistical methods are used to encode control policies, there is no guarantee that meaningful insights into a robot’s behavior can be derived or that a human will be able to efficiently isolate the behaviors relevant to the interaction. We present a series of algorithms and an accompanying system that enables robots to autonomously synthesize policy descriptions and respond to both general and targeted queries by human collaborators. We demonstrate applicability to a variety of robot controller types including those that utilize conditional logic, tabular reinforcement learning, and deep reinforcement learning, synthesizing informative policy descriptions for collaborators and facilitating fault diagnosis by non-experts.