Robotics: Science and Systems XI

Grounding English Commands to Reward Functions

James MacGlashan, Monica Babes-Vroman, Marie desJardins, Michael Littman, Smaranda Muresan, Shawn Squire, Stefanie Tellex, Dilip Arumugam, Lei Yang


As intelligent robots become more prevalent, methods to make interaction with the robots more accessible are increasingly important. Communicating the tasks that a person wants the robot to carry out via natural language, and training the robot to ground the natural language through demonstration, are especially appealing approaches for interaction, since they do not require a technical background. However, existing approaches map natural language commands to robot command languages that directly express the sequence of actions the robot should execute. This sequence is often specific to a particular situation and does not generalize to new situations. To address this problem, we present a system that grounds natural language commands into reward functions using demonstrations of different natural language commands being carried out in the environment. Because language is grounded to reward functions, rather than explicit actions that the robot can perform, commands can be high-level, carried out in novel environments autonomously, and even transferred to other robots with different action spaces. We demonstrate that our learned model can be both generalized to novel environments and transferred to a robot with a different action space than the action space used during training.



    AUTHOR    = {James MacGlashan AND Monica Babes-Vroman AND Marie desJardins AND Michael Littman AND Smaranda Muresan AND Shawn Squire AND Stefanie Tellex AND Dilip Arumugam AND Lei Yang}, 
    TITLE     = {Grounding English Commands to Reward Functions}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2015}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Rome, Italy}, 
    MONTH     = {July},
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2015.XI.018}