When Shall I Be Empathetic? The Utility of Empathetic Parameter Estimation in Multi-Agent Interactions

Yi Chen, Lei Zhang, Tanner Merry, Sunny Amatya, Wenlong Zhang, Yi Ren

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Human-robot interactions (HRI) can be modeled as differential games with incomplete information, where each agent holds private reward parameters. Due to the open challenge in finding perfect Bayesian equilibria of such games, existing studies often decouple the belief and physical dynamics by iterating between belief update and motion planning. Importantly, the robot's reward parameters are often assumed to be known to the humans, in order to simplify the computation. We show in this paper that under this simplification, the robot performs non-empathetic belief update about the humans' parameters, which causes high safety risks in uncontrolled intersection scenarios. In contrast, we propose a model for empathetic belief update, where the agent updates the joint probabilities of all agents' parameter combinations. The update uses a neural network that approximates the Nash equilibrial action-values of agents. We compare empathetic and non-empathetic belief update methods on a two-vehicle uncontrolled intersection case with short reaction time. Results show that when both agents are unknowingly aggressive (or non-aggressive), empathy is necessary for avoiding collisions when agents have false believes about each others' parameters. This paper demonstrates the importance of acknowledging the incomplete-information nature of HRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages2761-2767
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728190778
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Event2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2021 - Xi'an, China
Duration: May 30 2021Jun 5 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Volume2021-May
ISSN (Print)1050-4729

Conference

Conference2021 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA 2021
Country/TerritoryChina
CityXi'an
Period5/30/216/5/21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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