Search

Facebook/Twitter

New technology allows robots to see their own future

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 

UC Berkeley researchers have developed a robotic learning technology that enables robots to imagine the future of their actions so they can figure out how to manipulate objects they have never encountered before. It could help self-driving cars anticipate future events on the road and produce more intelligent robotic assistants in homes.

The initial prototype focuses on learning simple manual skills entirely from autonomous play — similar to how children can learn about their world by playing with toys, moving them around, grasping, etc.

Using this technology, called visual foresight, the robots can predict what their cameras will see if they perform a particular sequence of movements. These robotic imaginations are still relatively simple for now — predictions made only several seconds into the future — but they are enough for the robot to figure out how to move objects around on a table without disturbing obstacles.

The robot can learn to perform these tasks without any help from humans or prior knowledge about physics, its environment, or what the objects are. That’s because the visual imagination is learned entirely from scratch from unattended and unsupervised (no humans involved) exploration, where the robot plays with objects on a table.

After this play phase, the robot builds a predictive model of the world, and can use this model to manipulate new objects that it has not seen before.

“In the same way that we can imagine how our actions will move the objects in our environment, this method can enable a robot to visualize how different behaviors will affect the world around it,” said Sergey Levine, assistant professor in Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, whose lab developed the technology. “This can enable intelligent planning of highly flexible skills in complex real-world situations.”

The research team demostrated the visual foresight technology at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference in Long Beach, California, on Tuesday December 4, 2017.

Learning by playing: how it works

Robot’s imagined predictions (credit: UC Berkeley)

 

At the core of this system is a deep learning technology based on convolutional recurrent video prediction, or dynamic neural advection (DNA). DNA-based models predict how pixels in an image will move from one frame to the next based on the robot’s actions. Recent improvements to this class of models, as well as greatly improved planning capabilities, have enabled robotic control based on video prediction to perform increasingly complex tasks, such as sliding toys around obstacles and repositioning multiple objects.

“In that past, robots have learned skills with a human supervisor helping and providing feedback. What makes this work exciting is that the robots can learn a range of visual object manipulation skills entirely on their own,” said Chelsea Finn, a doctoral student in Levine’s lab and inventor of the original DNA model.

With the new technology, a robot pushes objects on a table, then uses the learned prediction model to choose motions that will move an object to a desired location. Robots use the learned model from raw camera observations to teach themselves how to avoid obstacles and push objects around obstructions.

Since control through video prediction relies only on observations that can be collected autonomously by the robot, such as through camera images, the resulting method is general and broadly applicable. In contrast to conventional computer vision methods, which require humans to manually label thousands or even millions of images, building video prediction models only requires unannotated video, which can be collected by the robot entirely autonomously. Video prediction models have also been applied to datasets that represent everything from human activities to driving, with compelling results.

  • http://www.kurzweilai.net/new-technology-allows-robots-to-see-their-own-future?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=589647d36c-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6de721fb33-589647d36c-281961501