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Decentralized Structural-RNN for Robot Crowd Navigation with Deep Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Safe and efficient navigation through human crowds is an essential capability for mobile robots. Previous work on robot crowd navigation assumes that the dynamics of all agents are known and well-defined. In addition, the performance of previous methods deteriorates in partially observable environments and environments with dense crowds. To tackle these problems, we propose decentralized structural-Recurrent Neural Network (DS-RNN), a novel network that reasons about spatial and temporal relationships for robot decision making in crowd navigation. We train our network with model-free deep reinforcement learning without any expert supervision. We demonstrate that our model outperforms previous methods and successfully transfer the policy learned in the simulator to a real-world TurtleBot 2i.


Robot Navigation in Constrained Pedestrian Environments using Reinforcement Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Navigating fluently around pedestrians is a necessary capability for mobile robots deployed in human environments, such as office buildings and homes. While related literature has addressed the co-navigation problem focused on the scalability with the number of pedestrians in open spaces, typical indoor environments present the additional challenge of constrained spaces such as corridors, doorways and crosswalks that limit maneuverability and influence patterns of pedestrian interaction. We present an approach based on reinforcement learning to learn policies capable of dynamic adaptation to the presence of moving pedestrians while navigating between desired locations in constrained environments. The policy network receives guidance from a motion planner that provides waypoints to follow a globally planned trajectory, whereas the reinforcement component handles the local interactions. We explore a compositional principle for multi-layout training and find that policies trained in a small set of geometrically simple layouts successfully generalize to unseen and more complex layouts that exhibit composition of the simple structural elements available during training. Going beyond wall-world like domains, we show transfer of the learned policy to unseen 3D reconstructions of two real environments (market, home). These results support the applicability of the compositional principle to real-world environments and indicate promising usage of agent simulation within reconstructed environments for tasks that involve interaction.


Learning a State Representation and Navigation in Cluttered and Dynamic Environments

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In this work, we present a learning-based pipeline to realise local navigation with a quadrupedal robot in cluttered environments with static and dynamic obstacles. Given high-level navigation commands, the robot is able to safely locomote to a target location based on frames from a depth camera without any explicit mapping of the environment. First, the sequence of images and the current trajectory of the camera are fused to form a model of the world using state representation learning. The output of this lightweight module is then directly fed into a target-reaching and obstacle-avoiding policy trained with reinforcement learning. We show that decoupling the pipeline into these components results in a sample efficient policy learning stage that can be fully trained in simulation in just a dozen minutes. The key part is the state representation, which is trained to not only estimate the hidden state of the world in an unsupervised fashion, but also helps bridging the reality gap, enabling successful sim-to-real transfer. In our experiments with the quadrupedal robot ANYmal in simulation and in reality, we show that our system can handle noisy depth images, avoid dynamic obstacles unseen during training, and is endowed with local spatial awareness.


Virtual-to-real Deep Reinforcement Learning: Continuous Control of Mobile Robots for Mapless Navigation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

We present a learning-based mapless motion planner by taking the sparse 10-dimensional range findings and the target position with respect to the mobile robot coordinate frame as input and the continuous steering commands as output. Traditional motion planners for mobile ground robots with a laser range sensor mostly depend on the obstacle map of the navigation environment where both the highly precise laser sensor and the obstacle map building work of the environment are indispensable. We show that, through an asynchronous deep reinforcement learning method, a mapless motion planner can be trained end-to-end without any manually designed features and prior demonstrations. The trained planner can be directly applied in unseen virtual and real environments. The experiments show that the proposed mapless motion planner can navigate the nonholonomic mobile robot to the desired targets without colliding with any obstacles.


Human-Aware Robot Navigation via Reinforcement Learning with Hindsight Experience Replay and Curriculum Learning

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In recent years, the growing demand for more intelligent service robots is pushing the development of mobile robot navigation algorithms to allow safe and efficient operation in a dense crowd. Reinforcement learning (RL) approaches have shown superior ability in solving sequential decision making problems, and recent work has explored its potential to learn navigation polices in a socially compliant manner. However, the expert demonstration data used in existing methods is usually expensive and difficult to obtain. In this work, we consider the task of training an RL agent without employing the demonstration data, to achieve efficient and collision-free navigation in a crowded environment. To address the sparse reward navigation problem, we propose to incorporate the hindsight experience replay (HER) and curriculum learning (CL) techniques with RL to efficiently learn the optimal navigation policy in the dense crowd. The effectiveness of our method is validated in a simulated crowd-robot coexisting environment. The results demonstrate that our method can effectively learn human-aware navigation without requiring additional demonstration data.