Rank2Reward: Learning Shaped Reward Functions from Passive Video

Daniel Yang, Davin Tjia, Jacob Berg,Dima Damen,Pulkit Agrawal,Abhishek Gupta


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Teaching robots novel skills with demonstrations via human-in-the-loop data collection techniques like kinesthetic teaching or teleoperation puts a heavy burden on human supervisors. In contrast to this paradigm, it is often significantly easier to provide raw, action-free visual data of tasks being performed. Moreover, this data can even be mined from video datasets or the web. Ideally, this data can serve to guide robot learning for new tasks in novel environments, informing both "what" to do and "how" to do it. A powerful way to encode both the "what" and the "how" is to infer a well-shaped reward function for reinforcement learning. The challenge is determining how to ground visual demonstration inputs into a well-shaped and informative reward function. We propose a technique Rank2Reward for learning behaviors from videos of tasks being performed without access to any low-level states and actions. We do so by leveraging the videos to learn a reward function that measures incremental "progress" through a task by learning how to temporally rank the video frames in a demonstration. By inferring an appropriate ranking, the reward function is able to guide reinforcement learning by indicating when task progress is being made. This ranking function can be integrated into an adversarial imitation learning scheme resulting in an algorithm that can learn behaviors without exploiting the learned reward function. We demonstrate the effectiveness of Rank2Reward at learning behaviors from raw video on a number of tabletop manipulation tasks in both simulations and on a real-world robotic arm. We also demonstrate how Rank2Reward can be easily extended to be applicable to web-scale video datasets.
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