Robotics: Science and Systems IX

Learning Semantic Maps from Natural Language Descriptions

Matt Walter, Sachithra Hemachandra, Bianca Homberg, Stefanie Tellex, Seth Teller


This paper proposes an algorithm that enables robots to efficiently learn human-centric models of their environment from natural language descriptions. Typical semantic mapping approaches augment metric maps with higher-level properties of the robot’s surroundings (e.g., place type, object locations), but do not use this information to improve the metric map. The novelty of our algorithm lies in fusing high-level knowledge, conveyed by speech, with metric information from the robot’s low-level sensor streams. Our method jointly estimates a hybrid metric, topological, and semantic representation of the environment. This semantic graph provides a common framework in which we integrate concepts from natural language descriptions (e.g., labels and spatial relations) with metric observations from low-level sensors. Our algorithm efficiently maintains a factored distribution over semantic graphs based upon the stream of natural language and low-level sensor information. We evaluate the algorithm’s performance and demonstrate that the incorporation of information from natural language increases the metric, topological and semantic accuracy of the recovered environment model.



    AUTHOR    = {Matt Walter AND Sachithra Hemachandra AND Bianca Homberg AND Stefanie Tellex AND Seth Teller}, 
    TITLE     = {Learning Semantic Maps from Natural Language Descriptions}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2013}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Berlin, Germany}, 
    MONTH     = {June},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2013.IX.004}