Using Both Demonstrations and Language Instructions to Efficiently Learn Robotic Tasks (2022)
Demonstrations and natural language instructions are two common ways to specify and teach robots novel tasks. However, for many complex tasks, a demonstration or language instruction alone contains ambiguities, preventing tasks from being specified clearly. In such cases, a combination of both a demonstration and an instruction more concisely and effectively conveys the task to the robot than either modality alone. To instantiate this problem setting, we train a single multi-task policy on a few hundred challenging robotic pick-and-place tasks and propose DeL-TaCo (Joint Demo-Language Task Conditioning), a method for conditioning a robotic policy on task embeddings comprised of two components: a visual demonstration and a language instruction. By allowing these two modalities to mutually disambiguate and clarify each other during novel task specification, DeL-TaCo (1) substantially decreases the teacher effort needed to specify a new task and (2) achieves better generalization performance on novel objects and instructions over previous task-conditioning methods. To our knowledge, this is the first work to show that simultaneously conditioning a multi-task robotic manipulation policy on both demonstration and language embeddings improves sample efficiency and generalization over conditioning on either modality alone. See additional materials at https://sites.google.com/view/del-taco-learning
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arXiv (2022). arXiv.
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Raymond J. Mooney Faculty mooney [at] cs utexas edu
Albert Yu Ph.D. Student albertyu [at] utexas edu