Practical Imitation Learning in the Real World via Task Consistency Loss

Mohi Khansari,Daniel Ho, Yuqing Du, Armando Fuentes, Matthew Bennice, Nicolas Sievers, Sean Kirmani,Yunfei Bai,Eric Jang


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Recent work in visual end-to-end learning for robotics has shown the promise of imitation learning across a variety of tasks. Such approaches are expensive both because they require large amounts of real world training demonstrations and because identifying the best model to deploy in the real world requires time-consuming real-world evaluations. These challenges can be mitigated by simulation: by supplementing real world data with simulated demonstrations and using simulated evaluations to identify high performing policies. However, this introduces the well-known "reality gap" problem, where simulator inaccuracies decorrelate performance in simulation from that of reality. In this paper, we build on top of prior work in GAN-based domain adaptation and introduce the notion of a Task Consistency Loss (TCL), a self-supervised loss that encourages sim and real alignment both at the feature and action-prediction levels. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by teaching a mobile manipulator to autonomously approach a door, turn the handle to open the door, and enter the room. The policy performs control from RGB and depth images and generalizes to doors not encountered in training data. We achieve 80% success across ten seen and unseen scenes using only ~16.2 hours of teleoperated demonstrations in sim and real. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work to tackle latched door opening from a purely end-to-end learning approach, where the task of navigation and manipulation are jointly modeled by a single neural network.
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