Rapidly Adaptable Legged Robots via Evolutionary Meta-Learning

Learning adaptable policies is crucial for robots to operate autonomously in our complex and quickly changing world. In this work, we present a new meta-learning method that allows robots to quickly adapt to changes in dynamics... In contrast to gradient-based meta-learning algorithms that rely on second-order gradient estimation, we introduce a more noise-tolerant Batch Hill-Climbing adaptation operator and combine it with meta-learning based on evolutionary strategies. Our method significantly improves adaptation to changes in dynamics in high noise settings, which are common in robotics applications. We validate our approach on a quadruped robot that learns to walk while subject to changes in dynamics. We observe that our method significantly outperforms prior gradient-based approaches, enabling the robot to adapt its policy to changes based on less than 3 minutes of real data. read more

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