Composing Diverse Policies for Temporally Extended Tasks


Robot control policies for temporally extended and sequenced tasks are often characterized by discontinuous switches between different local dynamics. These change-points are often exploited in hierarchical motion planning to build approximate models and to facilitate the design of local, region-specific controllers. However, it becomes combinatorially challenging to implement such a pipeline for complex temporally extended tasks, especially when the sub-controllers work on different information streams, time scales and action spaces. In this paper, we introduce a method that can compose diverse policies comprising motion planning trajectories, dynamic motion primitives and neural network controllers. We introduce a global goal scoring estimator that uses local, per-motion primitive dynamics models and corresponding activation state-space sets to sequence diverse policies in a locally optimal fashion. We use expert demonstrations to convert what is typically viewed as a gradient-based learning process into a planning process without explicitly specifying pre- and post-conditions. We first illustrate the proposed framework using an MDP benchmark to showcase robustness to action and model dynamics mismatch, and then with a particularly complex physical gear assembly task, solved on a PR2 robot. We show that the proposed approach successfully discovers the optimal sequence of controllers and solves both tasks efficiently.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (Volume: 5 , Issue: 2 , April 2020)

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Daniel Angelov
PhD Student Robotics and AI

Making actual robots smarter.