GridToPix: Training Embodied Agents with Minimal Supervision

While deep reinforcement learning (RL) promises freedom from hand-labeled data, great successes, especially for Embodied AI, require significant work to create supervision via carefully shaped rewards. Indeed, without shaped rewards, i.e., with only terminal rewards, present-day Embodied AI results degrade significantly across Embodied AI problems from single-agent Habitat-based PointGoal Navigation (SPL drops from 55 to 0) and two-agent AI2-THOR-based Furniture Moving (success drops from 58% to 1%) to three-agent Google Football-based 3 vs. 1 with Keeper (game score drops from 0.6 to 0.1). As training from shaped rewards doesn't scale to more realistic tasks, the community needs to improve the success of training with terminal rewards. For this we propose GridToPix: 1) train agents with terminal rewards in gridworlds that generically mirror Embodied AI environments, i.e., they are independent of the task; 2) distill the learned policy into agents that reside in complex visual worlds. Despite learning from only terminal rewards with identical models and RL algorithms, GridToPix significantly improves results across tasks: from PointGoal Navigation (SPL improves from 0 to 64) and Furniture Moving (success improves from 1% to 25%) to football gameplay (game score improves from 0.1 to 0.6). GridToPix even helps to improve the results of shaped reward training.

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