A Comparative Study of Reinforcement-­based and Semi­-classical Learning in Sensor Fusion

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Institutionen för matematik och datavetenskap (from 2013)

Abstract: Reinforcement learning has proven itself very useful in certain areas, such as games. However, the approach has been seen as quite limited. Reinforcement-based learning has for instance not been commonly used for classification tasks as it is receiving feedback on how well it did for an action performed on a specific input. This slows the performance convergence rate as compared to other classification approaches which has the input and the corresponding output to train on. Nevertheless, this thesis aims to investigate whether reinforcement-based learning could successfully be employed on a classification task. Moreover, as sensor fusion is an expanding field which can for instance assist autonomous vehicles in understanding its surroundings, it is also interesting to see how sensor fusion, i.e., fusion between lidar and RGB images, could increase the performance in a classification task. In this thesis, a reinforcement-based learning approach is compared to a semi-classical approach. As an example of a reinforcement learning model, a deep Q-learning network was chosen, and a support vector machine classifier built on top of a deep neural network, was chosen as an example of a semi-classical model. In this work, these frameworks are compared with and without sensor fusion to see whether fusion improves their performance. Experiments show that the evaluated reinforcement-based learning approach underperforms in terms of metrics but mainly due to its slow learning process, in comparison to the semi-classical approach. However, on the other hand using reinforcement-based learning to carry out a classification task could still in some cases be advantageous, as it still performs fairly well in terms of the metrics presented in this work, e.g. F1-score, or for instance imbalanced datasets. As for the impact of sensor fusion, a notable improvement can be seen, e.g. when training the deep Q-learning model for 50 episodes, the F1-score increased with 0.1329; especially, when taking into account that the most of the lidar data used in the fusion is lost since this work projects the 3D lidar data onto the same 2D plane as the RGB images.

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