Avoidance of Manual Labeling in Robotic Autonomous Navigation Through Multi-Sensory Semi-Supervised Learning

22 Sep 2017  ·  Junhong Xu, Shangyue Zhu, Hanqing Guo, Shaoen Wu ·

Imitation learning holds the promise to address challenging robotic tasks such as autonomous navigation. It however requires a human supervisor to oversee the training process and send correct control commands to robots without feedback, which is always prone to error and expensive. To minimize human involvement and avoid manual labeling of data in the robotic autonomous navigation with imitation learning, this paper proposes a novel semi-supervised imitation learning solution based on a multi-sensory design. This solution includes a suboptimal sensor policy based on sensor fusion to automatically label states encountered by a robot to avoid human supervision during training. In addition, a recording policy is developed to throttle the adversarial affect of learning too much from the suboptimal sensor policy. This solution allows the robot to learn a navigation policy in a self-supervised manner. With extensive experiments in indoor environments, this solution can achieve near human performance in most of the tasks and even surpasses human performance in case of unexpected events such as hardware failures or human operation errors. To best of our knowledge, this is the first work that synthesizes sensor fusion and imitation learning to enable robotic autonomous navigation in the real world without human supervision.

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