Instruction-Following Agents with Jointly Pre-Trained Vision-Language Models

ICLR 2023(2023)

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Humans are excellent at understanding language and vision to accomplish a wide range of tasks. In contrast, creating general instruction-following embodied agents remains a difficult challenge. Prior work that uses pure language-only models lack visual grounding, making it difficult to connect language instructions with visual observations. On the other hand, methods that use pre-trained vision-language models typically come with divided language and visual representations, requiring designing specialized network architecture to fuse them together. We propose a simple yet effective model for robots to solve instruction-following tasks in vision-based environments. Our InstructRL method consists of a multimodal transformer that encodes visual observations and language instructions, and a policy transformer that predicts actions based on encoded representations. The multimodal transformer is pre-trained on millions of image-text pairs and natural language text, thereby producing generic cross-modal representations of observations and instructions. The policy transformer keeps track of the full history of observations and actions, and predicts actions autoregressively. We show that this unified transformer model outperforms all state-of-the-art pre-trained or trained-from-scratch methods in both single-task and multi-task settings. Our model also shows better model scalability and generalization ability than prior work.
reinforcement learning,pre-training,multimodal representation,representation learning,transformer
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