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Towards Motor Skill Learning for Robotics

Jan Peters; Katharina Mülling; Jens Kober; Duy Nguyen-Tuong; Oliver Krömer
In: Cédric Pradalier; Roland Siegwart; Gerhard Hirzinger (Hrsg.). Robotics Research - The 14th International Symposium ISRR. International Symposium of Robotics Research (ISRR-2009), August 31 - September 3, Lucerne, Switzerland, Pages 469-482, Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics (STAR), Vol. 70, Springer, 2009.


Learning robots that can acquire new motor skills and refine existing one has been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and the cognitive sciences. Early steps towards this goal in the 1980s made clear that reasoning and human insights will not suffice. Instead, new hope has been offered by the rise of modern machine learning approaches. However, to date, it becomes increasingly clear that off-the-shelf machine learning approaches will not suffice for motor skill learning as these methods often do not scale into the high-dimensional domains of manipulator and humanoid robotics nor do they fulfill the real-time requirement of our domain. As an alternative, we propose to break the generic skill learning problem into parts that we can understand well from a robotics point of view. After designing appropriate learning approaches for these basic components, these will serve as the ingredients of a general approach to motor skill learning. In this paper, we discuss our recent and current progress in this direction. For doing so, we present our work on learning to control, on learning elementary movements as well as our steps towards learning of complex tasks. We show several evaluations both using real robots as well as physically realistic simulations.

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