Agents and Robots for Reliable Engineered Autonomy 2023

A special issue of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581). This special issue belongs to the section "AI in Robotics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2023) | Viewed by 6953

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, University of Genova, Genoa, Italy
Interests: formal methods; software engineering; multi-agent systems (MASs); runtime verification (RV); reliability of intelligent systems
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Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, The University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UL, UK
Interests: agent-oriented and multi-agent programming languages; benchmarking agent- and actor-based programming languages; goal allocation protocols; coordination mechanisms;formal methods (particularly model checking agents); runtime verification; multi-agent planning; verification of planning; hybrid AI
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Computing and Communications, Lancaster University Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Interests: knowledge representation; non-classical logics; automated reasoning; model theory

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Guest Editor
Computing and Software, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada
Interests: formal verification; model-based safety analysis and application of model checking in autonomous systems and robotics

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Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Interests: formal verification; machine ethics; autonomous systems; agent programming

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to bring together researchers from the autonomous agents and the robotics communities, since combining knowledge from these two research areas may lead to innovative approaches that solve complex problems related to the verification and validation of autonomous robotic systems. Therefore, we encourage submissions that combine robots, agents, software engineering, and verification. You can submit the papers to this Special Issue at any time before the deadline.

The main topics include but are not limited to:

  • Agent-based modular architectures applicable to robots;
  • Agent-oriented software engineering to model high-level control in robotic development;
  • Agent programming languages and tools for developing robotic or intelligent autonomous systems;
  • Coordination, interaction, and negotiation protocols for agents and robots;
  • Distributed problem solving and automated planning in autonomous systems;
  • Fault tolerance, health management, and long-term autonomy;
  • Real-world applications of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems in robotics;
  • Real-time multi-agent systems;
  • Reliable software engineering of autonomy;
  • Runtime verification of autonomous agents and robotic systems;
  • Task and resource allocation in multi-robot systems;
  • Verification and validation of autonomous systems;
  • Testing and simulation tools and techniques for autonomous or robotic systems;
  • Engineering reliable interactions between humans and autonomous robots or agents;
  • Verification and validation of human–robot interactions;
  • Engineering transparent decision-making for autonomous systems.

Dr. Angelo Ferrando
Dr. Rafael C. Cardoso
Dr. Fabio Papacchini
Dr. Mehrnoosh Askarpour
Dr. Louise A. Dennis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

22 pages, 602 KiB  
Article
CSP2Turtle: Verified Turtle Robot Plans
by Dara MacConville, Marie Farrell, Matt Luckcuck and Rosemary Monahan
Robotics 2023, 12(2), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics12020062 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1990
Abstract
Software verification is an important approach to establishing the reliability of critical systems. One important area of application is in the field of robotics, as robots take on more tasks in both day-to-day areas and highly specialised domains. Our particular interest is in [...] Read more.
Software verification is an important approach to establishing the reliability of critical systems. One important area of application is in the field of robotics, as robots take on more tasks in both day-to-day areas and highly specialised domains. Our particular interest is in checking the plans that robots are expected to follow to detect errors that would lead to unreliable behaviour. Python is a popular programming language in the robotics domain through the use of the Robot Operating System (ROS) and various other libraries. Python’s Turtle package provides a mobile agent, which we formally model here using Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP). Our interactive toolchain CSP2Turtle with CSP models and Python components enables plans for the turtle agent to be verified using the FDR model-checker before being executed in Python. This means that certain classes of errors can be avoided, providing a starting point for more detailed verification of Turtle programs and more complex robotic systems. We illustrate our approach with examples of robot navigation and obstacle avoidance in a 2D grid-world. We evaluate our approach and discuss future work, including how our approach could be scaled to larger systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agents and Robots for Reliable Engineered Autonomy 2023)
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21 pages, 2304 KiB  
Article
RV4JaCa—Towards Runtime Verification of Multi-Agent Systems and Robotic Applications
by Debora C. Engelmann, Angelo Ferrando, Alison R. Panisson, Davide Ancona, Rafael H. Bordini and Viviana Mascardi
Robotics 2023, 12(2), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics12020049 - 24 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1765
Abstract
This paper presents a Runtime Verification (RV) approach for Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) using the JaCaMo framework. Our objective is to bring a layer of security to the MAS. This is achieved keeping in mind possible safety-critical uses of the MAS, such as robotic [...] Read more.
This paper presents a Runtime Verification (RV) approach for Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) using the JaCaMo framework. Our objective is to bring a layer of security to the MAS. This is achieved keeping in mind possible safety-critical uses of the MAS, such as robotic applications. This layer is capable of controlling events during the execution of the system without needing a specific implementation in the behaviour of each agent to recognise the events. In this paper, we mainly focus on MAS when used in the context of hybrid intelligence. This use requires communication between software agents and human beings. In some cases, communication takes place via natural language dialogues. However, this kind of communication brings us to a concern related to controlling the flow of dialogue so that agents can prevent any change in the topic of discussion that could impair their reasoning. The latter may be a problem and undermine the development of the software agents. In this paper, we tackle this problem by proposing and demonstrating the implementation of a framework that aims to control the dialogue flow in a MAS; especially when the MAS communicates with the user through natural language to aid decision-making in a hospital bed allocation scenario. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agents and Robots for Reliable Engineered Autonomy 2023)
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24 pages, 4387 KiB  
Article
VEsNA, a Framework for Virtual Environments via Natural Language Agents and Its Application to Factory Automation
by Andrea Gatti and Viviana Mascardi
Robotics 2023, 12(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics12020046 - 21 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2282
Abstract
Automating a factory where robots are involved is neither trivial nor cheap. Engineering the factory automation process in such a way that return of interest is maximized and risk for workers and equipment is minimized is hence, of paramount importance. Simulation can be [...] Read more.
Automating a factory where robots are involved is neither trivial nor cheap. Engineering the factory automation process in such a way that return of interest is maximized and risk for workers and equipment is minimized is hence, of paramount importance. Simulation can be a game changer in this scenario but requires advanced programming skills that domain experts and industrial designers might not have. In this paper, we present the preliminary design and implementation of a general-purpose framework for creating and exploiting Virtual Environments via Natural language Agents (VEsNA). VEsNA takes advantage of agent-based technologies and natural language processing to enhance the design of virtual environments. The natural language input provided to VEsNA is understood by a chatbot and passed to an intelligent cognitive agent that implements the logic behind displacing objects in the virtual environment. In the complete VEsNA vision, for which this paper provides the building blocks, the intelligent agent will be able to reason on this displacement and on its compliance with legal and normative constraints. It will also be able to implement what-if analysis and case-based reasoning. Objects populating the virtual environment will include active objects and will populate a dynamic simulation whose outcomes will be interpreted by the cognitive agent; further autonomous agents, representing workers in the factory, will be added to make the virtual environment even more realistic; explanations and suggestions will be passed back to the user by the chatbot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agents and Robots for Reliable Engineered Autonomy 2023)
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