A structured prediction approach for robot imitation learning

TitleA structured prediction approach for robot imitation learning
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsDuan, A, Batzianoulis, I, Camoriano, R, Rosasco, L, Pucci, D, Billard, A
JournalThe International Journal of Robotics Research
Pagination113 - 133
Date Published11/2023

We propose a structured prediction approach for robot imitation learning from demonstrations. Among various tools for robot imitation learning, supervised learning has been observed to have a prominent role. Structured prediction is a form of supervised learning that enables learning models to operate on output spaces with complex structures. Through the lens of structured prediction, we show how robots can learn to imitate trajectories belonging to not only Euclidean spaces but also Riemannian manifolds. Exploiting ideas from information theory, we propose a class of loss functions based on the f-divergence to measure the information loss between the demonstrated and reproduced probabilistic trajectories. Different types of f-divergence will result in different policies, which we call imitation modes. Furthermore, our approach enables the incorporation of spatial and temporal trajectory modulation, which is necessary for robots to be adaptive to the change in working conditions. We benchmark our algorithm against state-of-the-art methods in terms of trajectory reproduction and adaptation. The quantitative evaluation shows that our approach outperforms other algorithms regarding both accuracy and efficiency. We also report real-world experimental results on learning manifold trajectories in a polishing task with a KUKA LWR robot arm, illustrating the effectiveness of our algorithmic framework.

Short TitleThe International Journal of Robotics Research

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