Kings College London

The Team

The KCL Pandora team consists of Professors Maria Fox and Derek Long, working with Research Fellow Dr Daniele Magazzeni. The three researchers have worked together for some time, focussing on continuous planning and hybrid control systems. They devised a plan-based policy learning approach described in their ICAPS paper in 2011, awarded best research paper prize. Subsequently, the work has been applied to the problem of bloom following, described in another ICAPS paper, in 2012.

Planning at KCL

Professors Fox and Long have led the Planning Group over more than a decade, recently managing a move (in November 2011), from the University of Strathclyde to King’s College London. The group is one of the internationally leading planning research groups and is particularly known for work in temporal and resource-constrained planning, particularly modelling and solving problems with continuous hybrid dynamics. Fox and Long have published widely in these areas, having developed the standard modelling languages, PDDL2.1 and PDDL+, and also having led work on development of a series of planners including LPGP, Crikey, TSGP, LP-RPG, COLIN and POPF.

Dr Magazzeni has worked on the application of model-checking techniques for hybrid systems to the problem of plan generation, having completed a thesis on “Explicit Model Checking Techniques applied to Control and Planning Problems”, at the University of L’Aquila in 2008, and a series of papers on the model-checking tool, UPMurphi, in this context.

Additional Relevant Context

Professor Fox is an Adjunct Researcher at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, in California. In this role she has collaborated with Dr Kanna Rajan and others to explore opportunities for deployment of intelligent control systems on AUVs, most recently including the control of an AUV in mapping the perimeter of an algal bloom.

Professor Long is to lead the EPSRC project on “Sustained Autonomy through Coupled Plan-based Control and World Modelling with Uncertainty”, which is part of the Intelligent Autonomous Systems Programme. This project, held with Professor Fox, will also be exploring the role of autonomous planning capabilities in the control of AUVs, in collaboration with Professor David Lane and Heriot-Watt and with Dr Richard Dearden at the University of Birmingham. Professor Long has also had a long experience of working with robotics for the exploration of space, which offers some similar challenges to the control of AUVs.

In Pandora

Professor Fox is leading WP2, exploiting planning for the intelligent control of AUVs in persistent autonomous missions. The team is also contributing to various aspects of the project, integrating planning into the management of learned behaviours and the links from sensor data to symbolic representations of the world state.

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