"Learning Controllers for Multi-Robot Teams"

Thursday, Mar. 14th @ 11am

FAH 3002 / Zoom https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/95959557868

Speaker: Gaurav S. Sukhatme

Seminar Abstract

We have recently demonstrated the possibility of learning controllers that are zero-shot transferable to groups of real quadrotors via large-scale, multi-agent, end-to-end reinforcement learning. We train policies parameterized by neural networks that can control individual drones
in a group in a fully decentralized manner. Our policies, trained in simulated environments with realistic quadrotor physics, demonstrate advanced flocking behaviors, perform aggressive maneuvers in tight formations while avoiding collisions with each other, break and re-establish formations to avoid collisions with moving obstacles, and efficiently coordinate in pursuit-evasion tasks. The model learned in simulation transfers to highly resource-constrained physical quadrotors performing station-keeping and goal-swapping behaviors. Motivated by these results and the observation that neural control of memory-constrained, agile robots requires small yet highly performant models, the talk will conclude with some thoughts on coaxing learned models onto devices with modest computational capabilities.


Gaurav S. Sukhatme is Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) and an Amazon Scholar. He is the Director of the USC School of Advanced Computing and the Executive Vice Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. He holds the Donald M. Aldstadt Chair in Advanced Computing at USC. He was the Chairman of the USC Computer Science department from 2012-17. He received his undergraduate education in computer science and engineering at IIT Bombay and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from USC. Sukhatme is the co-director of the USC Robotics Research Laboratory and the USC Robotic Embedded Systems Laboratory director. His research interests are in networked robots, learning robots, and field robotics. He has published extensively in these and related areas. Sukhatme has served as PI on numerous NSF, DARPA, and NASA grants. He was a Co-PI on the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS), an NSF Science and Technology Center. He is a Fellow of the AAAI and the IEEE, a recipient of the NSF CAREER award, the Okawa Foundation research award, and an Amazon research award. He is one of the founders of the Robotics: Science and Systems conference. He was the program chair of the 2008 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation and the 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robots and Systems. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Autonomous Robots (Springer Nature) and has served in the past as Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, and on the editorial board of IEEE Pervasive Computing.