Example-Driven Model-Based Reinforcement Learning for Solving Long-Horizon Visuomotor Tasks

09/21/2021 ∙ by Bohan Wu, et al. ∙ 5

In this paper, we study the problem of learning a repertoire of low-level skills from raw images that can be sequenced to complete long-horizon visuomotor tasks. Reinforcement learning (RL) is a promising approach for acquiring short-horizon skills autonomously. However, the focus of RL algorithms has largely been on the success of those individual skills, more so than learning and grounding a large repertoire of skills that can be sequenced to complete extended multi-stage tasks. The latter demands robustness and persistence, as errors in skills can compound over time, and may require the robot to have a number of primitive skills in its repertoire, rather than just one. To this end, we introduce EMBR, a model-based RL method for learning primitive skills that are suitable for completing long-horizon visuomotor tasks. EMBR learns and plans using a learned model, critic, and success classifier, where the success classifier serves both as a reward function for RL and as a grounding mechanism to continuously detect if the robot should retry a skill when unsuccessful or under perturbations. Further, the learned model is task-agnostic and trained using data from all skills, enabling the robot to efficiently learn a number of distinct primitives. These visuomotor primitive skills and their associated pre- and post-conditions can then be directly combined with off-the-shelf symbolic planners to complete long-horizon tasks. On a Franka Emika robot arm, we find that EMBR enables the robot to complete three long-horizon visuomotor tasks at 85 organizing an office desk, a file cabinet, and drawers, which require sequencing up to 12 skills, involve 14 unique learned primitives, and demand generalization to novel objects.



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