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A new framework that could simplify imitation learning in robotics


Figure showing the two ‘halves’ of the researchers’ method, with representation learning on the left and behavior imitation through nearest neighbors on the right. Credit: Pari et al.

Over the past few decades, computer scientists have been trying to train robots to tackle a variety of tasks, including house chores and manufacturing processes. One of the most renowned strategies used to train robots on manual tasks is imitation learning.

As suggested by its name, imitation learning entails teaching a robot how to do something using human demonstrations. While in some studies this training strategy achieved very promising results, it often requires large and annotated datasets containing hundreds of videos where humans complete a given task.

Researchers at New York University have recently developed VINN, an alternative imitation learning framework that does not necessarily require large training datasets. This new approach, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, works by decoupling ...


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