Learning robust policies for object manipulation with robot swarms

Gebhardt, G. H. W., Daun, K., Schnaubelt, M. and Neumann, G. (2018) Learning robust policies for object manipulation with robot swarms. In: IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 21 - 25 May 2018, Brisbane, Australia.

LearningRobustPoliciesForObjectManipulationWithRobotSwarms.pdf - Whole Document

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


Swarm robotics investigates how a large population of robots with simple actuation and limited sensors can collectively solve complex tasks. One particular interesting application with robot swarms is autonomous object assembly.
Such tasks have been solved successfully with robot swarms that are controlled by a human operator using a light source.
In this paper, we present a method to solve such assembly tasks autonomously based on policy search methods. We split the assembly process in two subtasks: generating a high-level assembly plan and learning a low-level object movement policy. The assembly policy plans the trajectories for each object and the object movement policy controls the trajectory execution. Learning the object movement policy is challenging as it depends on the complex state of the swarm which consists of an individual state for each agent. To approach this problem, we introduce a representation of the swarm which is based on Hilbert space embeddings of distributions. This representation is invariant to the number of agents in the swarm as well as to the allocation of an agent to its position in the swarm. These invariances make the learned policy robust to changes in the swarm and also reduce the search space for the policy search method significantly. We show that the resulting system is able to solve assembly tasks with varying object shapes in multiple simulation scenarios and evaluate the robustness of our representation to changes in the swarm size. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the policies learned in simulation are robust enough to be transferred to real robots.

Keywords:Reinforcement Learning, Swarms
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G760 Machine Learning
H Engineering > H671 Robotics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
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ID Code:31674
Deposited On:13 Apr 2018 12:16

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