Learning to Manipulate Articulated Objects in Unstructured Environments Using a Grounded Relational Representation

By Dov Katz, Yuri Pyuro, Oliver Brock  |  Robotics and Biology Lab
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Abstract: We introduce a learning-based approach to manip- ulation in unstructured environments. This approach permits au- tonomous acquisition of manipulation expertise from interactions with the environment. The resulting expertise enables a robot to perform effective manipulation based on partial state information.

The manipulation expertise is represented in a relational state representation and learned using relational reinforcement learning. The relational representation renders learning tractable by collapsing a large number of states onto a single, relational state. The relational state representation is carefully grounded in the perceptual and interaction skills of the robot. This ensures that symbolically learned knowledge remains meaningful in the physical world. We experimentally validate the proposed learning approach on the task of manipulating an articulated object to obtain a model of its kinematic structure. Our experiments demonstrate that the manipulation expertise acquired by the robot leads to substantial performance improvements. These improvements are maintained when experience is applied to previously unseen objects.

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