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Learning Inverse Dynamics: a Comparison

Duy Nguyen-Tuong; Jan Peters; Matthias W. Seeger; Bernhard Schölkopf
In: 16th European Symposium on Artificial Neural Networks, Proceedings. European Symposium on Artificial Neural Networks, Computational Intelligence and Machine Learning (ESANN-2008), April 23-25, Bruges, Belgium, Pages 13-18, ESANN, 2008.


While it is well-known that model can enhance the control performance in terms of precision or energy efficiency, the practical application has often been limited by the complexities of manually obtaining sufficiently accurate models. In the past, learning has proven a viable alternative to using a combination of rigid-body dynamics and handcrafted approximations of nonlinearities. However, a major open question is what nonparametric learning method is suited best for learning dynamics? Traditionally, locally weighted projection regression (LWPR), has been the standard method as it is capable of online, real-time learning for very complex robots. However, while LWPR has had significant impact on learning in robotics, alternative nonparametric regression methods such as support vector regression (SVR) and Gaussian processes regression (GPR) offer interesting alternatives with fewer open parameters and potentially higher accuracy. In this paper, we evaluate these three alternatives for model learning. Our comparison consists out of the evaluation of learning quality for each regression method using original data from SARCOS robot arm, as well as the robot tracking performance employing learned models. The results show that GPR and SVR achieve a superior learning precision and can be applied for real-time control obtaining higher accuracy. However, for the online learning LWPR presents the better method due to its lower computational requirements.

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