Robotics: Science and Systems XIX

How To Not Train Your Dragon: Training-free Embodied Object Goal Navigation with Semantic Frontiers

Junting Chen, Guohao Li, Suryansh Kumar, Bernard Ghanem, Fisher Yu


Object goal navigation is an important problem in Embodied AI that involves guiding the agent to navigate to an instance of the object category in an unknown environment---typically an indoor scene. Unfortunately, current state-of-the-art methods for this problem rely heavily on data-driven approaches, e.g., end-to-end reinforcement learning, imitation learning, and others. Moreover, such methods are typically costly to train and difficult to debug, leading to a lack of transferability and explainability. Inspired by recent successes in combining classical and learning methods, we present a modular and training-free solution, which embraces more classic approaches, to tackle the object goal navigation problem. Our method builds a structured scene representation based on the classic visual simultaneous localization and mapping (V-SLAM) framework. We then inject semantics into geometric-based frontier exploration to reason about promising areas to search for a goal object. Our structured scene representation comprises a 2D occupancy map, semantic point cloud, and spatial scene graph. Our method propagates semantics on the scene graphs based on language priors and scene statistics to introduce semantic knowledge to the geometric frontiers. With injected semantic priors, the agent can reason about the most promising frontier to explore. The proposed pipeline shows strong experimental performance for object goal navigation on the Gibson benchmark dataset, outperforming the previous state-of-the-art. We also perform comprehensive ablation studies to identify the current bottleneck in the object navigation task.



    AUTHOR    = {Junting Chen AND Guohao Li AND Suryansh Kumar AND Bernard Ghanem AND Fisher Yu}, 
    TITLE     = {{How To Not Train Your Dragon: Training-free Embodied Object Goal Navigation with Semantic Frontiers}}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2023}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Daegu, Republic of Korea}, 
    MONTH     = {July}, 
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2023.XIX.075}