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Personne# Teguh Santoso Lembono

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Sylvain Calinon, Teguh Santoso Lembono, Jiayi Wang

In Receding Horizon Planning (RHP), it is critical that the motion being executed facilitates the completion of the task, e.g. building momentum to overcome large obstacles. This requires a value function to inform the desirability of robot states. However, given the complex dynamics, value functions are often approximated by expensive computation of trajectories in an extended planning horizon. In this work, to achieve online multi-contact Receding Horizon Planning (RHP), we propose to learn an oracle that can predict local objectives (intermediate goals) for a given task based on the current robot state and the environment. Then, we use these local objectives to construct local value functions to guide a short-horizon RHP. To obtain the oracle, we take a supervised learning approach, and we present an incremental training scheme that can improve the prediction accuracy by adding demonstrations on how to recover from failures. We compare our approach against the baseline (long-horizon RHP) for planning centroidal trajectories of humanoid walking on moderate slopes as well as large slopes where static stability cannot be achieved. We validate these trajectories by tracking them via a whole-body inverse dynamics controller in simulation. We show that our approach can achieve online RHP for 95%-98.6% cycles, outperforming the baseline (8%-51.2%).

Many robotics problems are formulated as optimization problems. However, most optimization solvers in robotics are locally optimal and the performance depends a lot on the initial guess. For challenging problems, the solver will often get stuck at poor local optima without a good initialization. In this thesis, we consider various techniques to provide a good initial guess to the solver based on previous experience. We use the term memory of motion to collectively refer to these techniques. The key idea is to use the existing system models, cost functions, and simulation tools to generate a database of solutions, and then construct a memory of motion model. During online execution, we can then query the initial guess of a given task from the memory of motion. We show that it improves the solver performance in terms of the solution quality, the success rates, and the computation time. We consider two different formulations, i.e., supervised learning and probability density estimation. In the first part, we formulate a regression problem to find the mapping between the task parameters and the solutions. Such a formulation is convenient, as there are a lot of function approximations available, but using them as a black box tool may result in poor predictions. It is especially the case for multimodal problems where there can be several different solutions for a given task and standard function approximators will simply average the different modes. We first propose an ensemble of function approximators that can handle multimodal problems to initialize an optimization-based motion planner. We then investigate the problem of initializing an optimal control solver for legged robot locomotion, where we need to also provide the initial guess of the control sequence. We evaluate the effect of different initialization components on the optimal control solver performance. In the second part, we consider another formulation by first transforming the cost function into an unnormalized Probability Density Function (PDF) and approximating it using various models. This formulation addresses several shortcomings of the supervised learning approaches by using the cost function itself to train or construct the predictive model. It allows us to generate initial guesses that have high probabilities of having low-cost values instead of simply imitating the dataset. We first show that we can obtain a trajectory distribution of an iLQR problem as a Gaussian distribution, and tracking this distribution results in a cost-efficient and robust controller. We then propose a generative adversarial framework to learn the distribution of robot configurations under constraints. Finally, we use tensor methods to approximate the unnormalized PDF. Since it does not rely on gradient information, the method is quite robust in finding the (possibly multiple) global optima or at least the good local optima of various challenging problems including some benchmark optimization functions, inverse kinematics, and motion planning.

Sylvain Calinon, Julius Maximilian Jankowski, Teguh Santoso Lembono, Emmanuel Pignat

In high dimensional robotic system, the manifold of the valid configuration space often has a complex shape, especially under constraints such as end-effector orientation or static stability. We propose a generative adversarial network approach to learn the distribution of valid robot configurations under such constraints. It can generate configurations that are close to the constraint manifold. We present two applications of this method. First, by learning the conditional distribution with respect to the desired end-effector position, we can do fast inverse kinematics even for very high degrees of freedom (DoF) systems. Then, we use it to generate samples in sampling-based constrained motion planning algorithms to reduce the necessary projection steps, speeding up the computation. We validate the approach in simulation using the 7-DoF Panda manipulator and the 28-DoF humanoid robot Talos.