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A Framework for Efficient Robotic Manipulation
Albert Zhan · Ruihan Zhao · Lerrel Pinto · Pieter Abbeel · Misha Laskin
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=RBfB8MOxjE- »

Recent advances in unsupervised representation learning significantly improved the sample efficiency of training Reinforcement Learning policies in simulated environments. However, similar gains have not yet been seen for real-robot learning. In this work, we focus on enabling data-efficient real-robot learning from pixels. We present a Framework for Efficient Robotic Manipulation (FERM), a method that utilizes data augmentation and unsupervised learning to achieve sample-efficient training of real-robot arm policies from sparse rewards. While contrastive pre-training, data augmentation, and demonstrations are alone insufficient for efficient learning, our main contribution is showing that the combination of these disparate techniques results in a simple yet data-efficient method. We show that, given only 10 demonstrations, a single robotic arm can learn sparse-reward manipulation policies from pixels, such as reaching, picking, moving, pulling a large object, flipping a switch, and opening a drawer in just 30 minutes of mean real-world training time.

Author Information

Albert Zhan (University of California, Berkeley)
Ruihan Zhao (University of California, Berkeley)
Lerrel Pinto (New York University)
Pieter Abbeel (UC Berkeley & Covariant)

Pieter Abbeel is Professor and Director of the Robot Learning Lab at UC Berkeley [2008- ], Co-Director of the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Lab, Co-Founder of covariant.ai [2017- ], Co-Founder of Gradescope [2014- ], Advisor to OpenAI, Founding Faculty Partner AI@TheHouse venture fund, Advisor to many AI/Robotics start-ups. He works in machine learning and robotics. In particular his research focuses on making robots learn from people (apprenticeship learning), how to make robots learn through their own trial and error (reinforcement learning), and how to speed up skill acquisition through learning-to-learn (meta-learning). His robots have learned advanced helicopter aerobatics, knot-tying, basic assembly, organizing laundry, locomotion, and vision-based robotic manipulation. He has won numerous awards, including best paper awards at ICML, NIPS and ICRA, early career awards from NSF, Darpa, ONR, AFOSR, Sloan, TR35, IEEE, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Pieter's work is frequently featured in the popular press, including New York Times, BBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Forbes, Tech Review, NPR.

Misha Laskin (UC Berkeley)

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