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Differentiable Constrained Imitation Learning for Robot Motion Planning and Control

10/21/2022
by   Christopher Diehl, et al.
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Motion planning and control are crucial components of robotics applications. Here, spatio-temporal hard constraints like system dynamics and safety boundaries (e.g., obstacles in automated driving) restrict the robot's motions. Direct methods from optimal control solve a constrained optimization problem. However, in many applications finding a proper cost function is inherently difficult because of the weighting of partially conflicting objectives. On the other hand, Imitation Learning (IL) methods such as Behavior Cloning (BC) provide a intuitive framework for learning decision-making from offline demonstrations and constitute a promising avenue for planning and control in complex robot applications. Prior work primarily relied on soft-constraint approaches, which use additional auxiliary loss terms describing the constraints. However, catastrophic safety-critical failures might occur in out-of-distribution (OOD) scenarios. This work integrates the flexibility of IL with hard constraint handling in optimal control. Our approach constitutes a general framework for constraint robotic motion planning and control using offline IL. Hard constraints are integrated into the learning problem in a differentiable manner, via explicit completion and gradient-based correction. Simulated experiments of mobile robot navigation and automated driving provide evidence for the performance of the proposed method.

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