Navigation of Mobile Robots in Human Environments with Deep Reinforcement Learning

University essay from KTH/Skolan för datavetenskap och kommunikation (CSC)

Abstract: For mobile robots which operate in human environments it is not sufficient to simply travel to their target destination as quickly as possible. Instead, mobile robots in human environments need to travel to their destination safely,  keeping a comfortable distance to humans and not colliding with any obstacles along the way. As the number of possible human-robot interactions is very large, defining a rule-based navigation approach is difficult in such highly dynamic environments. Current approaches solve this task by predicting the trajectories of humans in the scene and then planning a collision-free path. However, this requires separate components for detecting and predicting human motion and does not scale well to densely populated environments. Therefore, this work investigates the use of deep reinforcement learning for the navigation of mobile robots in human environments. This approach is based on recent research on utilizing deep neural networks in reinforcement learning to successfully play Atari 2600 video games on human level. A deep convolutional neural network is trained end-to-end from one-dimensional laser scan data to command velocities. Discrete and continuous action space implementations are evaluated in a simulation and are shown to outperform a Social Force Model baseline approach on the navigation problem for mobile robots in human environments. 

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