Learning Multimodal Models for Robot Dynamics with a Mixture of Gaussian Process Experts

Christopher Mckinnon1, Angela P. Schoellig1

  • 1University of Toronto

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Regular Papers

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09:55 - 11:10 | Tue 30 May | Room 4611/4612 | TUA6

Learning and Adaptive Systems 1

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Abstract

For decades, robots have been essential allies alongside humans in controlled industrial environments like heavy manufacturing facilities. However, without the guidance of a trusted human operator to shepherd a robot safely through a wide range of conditions, they have been barred from the complex, ever changing environments that we live in from day to day. Safe learning control has emerged as a promising way to start bridging algorithms based on first principles to complex real-world scenarios by using data to adapt, and improve performance over time. Safe learning methods rely on a good estimate of the robot dynamics and of the bounds on modelling error in order to be effective. Current methods focus on either a single adaptive model, or a fixed, known set of models for the robot dynamics. This limits them to static or slowly changing environments. This paper presents a method using Gaussian Processes in a Dirichlet Process mixture model to learn an increasing number of non-linear models for the robot dynamics. We show that this approach enables a robot to re-use past experience from an arbitrary number of previously visited operating conditions, and to automatically learn a new model when a new and distinct operating condition is encountered. This approach improves the robustness of existing Gaussian Process-based models to large changes in dynamics that do not have to be specified ahead of time.

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