Robotics: Science and Systems XV

Learning Robotic Manipulation through Visual Planning and Acting

Angelina Wang, Thanard Kurutach, Pieter Abbeel, Aviv Tamar

Abstract:

Planning for robotic manipulation requires reasoning about the changes a robot can affect on objects. When such interactions can be modelled analytically, as in domains with rigid objects, efficient planning algorithms exist. However, in both domestic and industrial domains, the objects of interest can be soft, or deformable, and hard to model analytically. For such cases, we posit that a data-driven modelling approach is more suitable. In recent years, progress in deep generative models has produced methods that learn to `imagine' plausible images from data. Building on the recent Causal InfoGAN generative model, in this work we learn to imagine goal-directed object manipulation directly from raw image data of self-supervised interaction of the robot with the object. After learning, given a goal observation of the system, our model can generate an imagined plan -- a sequence of images that transition the object into the desired goal. To execute the plan, we use it as a reference trajectory to track with a visual servoing controller, which we also learn from the data as an inverse dynamics model. In a simulated manipulation task, we show that separating the problem into visual planning and visual tracking control is more sample efficient and more interpretable than alternative data-driven approaches. We further demonstrate our approach on learning to imagine and execute in 3 environments, the final of which is deformable rope manipulation on a PR2 robot.

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Bibtex:

  
@INPROCEEDINGS{Tamar-RSS-19, 
    AUTHOR    = {Angelina Wang AND Thanard Kurutach AND Pieter Abbeel AND Aviv Tamar}, 
    TITLE     = {Learning Robotic Manipulation through Visual Planning and Acting}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2019}, 
    ADDRESS   = {FreiburgimBreisgau, Germany}, 
    MONTH     = {June}, 
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2019.XV.074} 
}