The scientific objective of IMAGINE is to enable robots to understand how their environment behaves and how to interact with it, resulting in substantial advances in autonomy, flexibility and robustness of interaction in the presence of unforeseen changes in the environment. Specifically, in
the context of IMAGINE understanding means the ability of the robot
- to infer which actions possibly apply in a given state of the environment, and how to parametrize the actions to achieve a desired effect;
- to discern to what extent its actions succeed, and if the action effect differs from the expected outcome, to infer possible reasons and recover from failures.
The core functional element is a generative model based on an association engine and a physics simulator. Understanding is given by the robot’s ability to predict and simulate the effects of its actions, before and during their execution. This allows the robot to choose actions and their parameters based on their simulated performance, and to monitor their progress during execution by matching observed to simulated behavior.
The industrial objective of IMAGINE is to drastically augment the level of structural understanding of devices and functional understanding of actions available to robots, enabling them to infer how to disassemble entire categories of electromechanical devices and appliances, to monitor the success of their own disassembly actions, and to synthesize effective recovery strategies for problems they encounter during disassembly.
The societal/environmental objective of IMAGINE is to increase the economical efficiency of recycling of devices containing hazardous components, to increase the rate of effective recycling and to reduce illegal and/or hazardous dumping or shipping to lax legislatures.