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Bayesian Imitation Learning for End-to-End Mobile Manipulation

Yuqing Du · Daniel Ho · Alexander Alemi · Eric Jang · Mohi Khansari

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In this work we investigate and demonstrate benefits of a Bayesian approach to imitation learning from multiple sensor inputs, as applied to the taskof opening office doors with a mobile manipulator. Augmenting policies with additional sensor inputs—such as RGB + depth cameras—is a straightforward approach to improving robot perception capabilities, especially for tasks that mayfavor different sensors in different situations. As we scale multi-sensor robotic learning to unstructured real-world settings (e.g. offices, homes) and more complex robot behaviors, we also increase reliance on simulators for cost, efficiency, andsafety. Consequently, the sim-to-real gap across multiple sensor modalities also increases, making simulated validation more difficult. We show that using the Variational Information Bottleneck (Alemi et al., 2016) to regularize convolutionalneural networks improves generalization to heldout domains and reduces the sim-to-real gap in a sensor-agnostic manner. As a side effect, thelearned embeddings also provide useful estimates of model uncertainty for each sensor. We demonstrate that our method is able to help close the sim-to-real gap and successfully fuse RGB and depth modalities based on understanding of thesituational uncertainty of each sensor. In a real-world office environment, we achieve 96% task success, improving upon the baseline by +16%.

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