We present a novel POMDP problem formulation for a robot that must autonomously decide where to go to collect new and scientifically relevant images given a limited ability to communicate with its human operator. From this formulation we derive constraints and design principles for the observation model, reward model, and communication strategy of such a robot, exploring techniques to deal with the very high-dimensional observation space and scarcity of relevant training data. We introduce a novel active reward learning strategy based on making queries to help the robot minimize path ``regret'' online, and evaluate it for suitability in autonomous visual exploration through simulations. We demonstrate that, in some bandwidth-limited environments, this novel regret-based criterion enables the robotic explorer to collect up to 17% more reward per mission than the next-best criterion.
Jamieson, S., How, J. P., & Girdhar, Y. (2020). Active Reward Learning for Co-Robotic Vision Based Exploration in Bandwidth Limited Environments. [To appear in] IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation.