Building Affordance Relations for Robotic Agents - A Review

Paola Ardón, Èric Pairet, Katrin S. Lohan, Subramanian Ramamoorthy, Ronald P.A. Petrick

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


Affordances describe the possibilities for an agent to perform actions with an object. While the significance of the affordance concept has been previously studied from varied perspectives, such as psychology and cognitive science, these approaches are not always sufficient to enable direct transfer, in the sense of implementations, to artificial intelligence (AI)-based systems and robotics. However, many efforts have been made to pragmatically employ the concept of affordances, as it represents great potential for AI agents to effectively bridge perception to action. In this survey, we review and find common ground amongst different strategies that use the concept of affordances within robotic tasks, and build on these methods to provide guidance for including affordances as a mechanism to improve autonomy. To this end, we outline common design choices for building representations of affordance relations, and their implications on the generalisation capabilities of an agent when facing previously unseen scenarios. Finally, we identify and discuss a range of interesting research directions involving affordances that have the potential to improve the capabilities of an AI agent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Thirtieth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-21) Survey Track
EditorsZhi-Hua Zhou
PublisherInternational Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence Organization
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9992411-9-6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2021
Event30th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 19 Aug 202126 Aug 2021


Conference30th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Abbreviated titleIJCAI 2021
Internet address


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