Learning over Subgoals for Efficient Navigation of Structured, Unknown Environments

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Gregory J. Stein, Christopher Bradley, Nicholas Roy ;
Proceedings of The 2nd Conference on Robot Learning, PMLR 87:213-222, 2018.

Abstract

We propose a novel technique for efficiently navigating unknown environments over long horizons by learning to predict properties of unknown space. We generate a dynamic action set defined by the current map, factor the Bellman Equation in terms of these actions, and estimate terms, such as the probability that navigating beyond a particular subgoal will lead to a dead-end, that are otherwise difficult to compute. Simulated agents navigating with our Learned Subgoal Planner in real-world floor plans demonstrate a 21% expected decrease in cost-to-go compared to standard optimistic planning techniques that rely on Dijkstra’s algorithm, and real-world agents show promising navigation performance as well.

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