Learning to Compose Hierarchical Object-Centric Controllers for Robotic Manipulation
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Robot Learning, PMLR 155:822-844, 2021.
Manipulation tasks can often be decomposed into multiple subtasks performed in parallel, e.g., sliding an object to a goal pose while maintaining contact with a table. Individual subtasks can be achieved by task-axis controllers defined relative to the objects being manipulated, and a set of object-centric controllers can be combined in an hierarchy. In prior works, such combinations are defined manually or learned from demonstrations. By contrast, we propose using reinforcement learning to dynamically compose hierarchical object-centric controllers for manipulation tasks. Experiments in both simulation and real world show how the proposed approach leads to improved sample efficiency, zero-shot generalization to novel test environments, and simulation-to-reality transfer without fine-tuning.