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No RL, No Simulation: Learning to Navigate without Navigating

Meera Hahn · Devendra Singh Chaplot · Shubham Tulsiani · Mustafa Mukadam · James Rehg · Abhinav Gupta

Keywords: [ Graph Learning ] [ Deep Learning ] [ Reinforcement Learning and Planning ]


Most prior methods for learning navigation policies require access to simulation environments, as they need online policy interaction and rely on ground-truth maps for rewards. However, building simulators is expensive (requires manual effort for each and every scene) and creates challenges in transferring learned policies to robotic platforms in the real-world, due to the sim-to-real domain gap. In this paper, we pose a simple question: Do we really need active interaction, ground-truth maps or even reinforcement-learning (RL) in order to solve the image-goal navigation task? We propose a self-supervised approach to learn to navigate from only passive videos of roaming. Our approach, No RL, No Simulator (NRNS), is simple and scalable, yet highly effective. NRNS outperforms RL-based formulations by a significant margin. We present NRNS as a strong baseline for any future image-based navigation tasks that use RL or Simulation.

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