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Deep Reinforcement Learning for Robotic Tasks: Manipulation and Sensor Odometry
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Research in robotics has frequently focused on artificial intelligence (AI). To increase the effectiveness of the learning process for the robot, numerous studies have been carried out. To be more effective, robots must be able to learn effectively in a shorter amount of time and with fewer resources. It has been established that reinforcement learning (RL) is efficient for aiding a robot's learning. In this dissertation, we proposed and optimized RL algorithms to ensure that our robots learn well. Research into driverless or self-driving automobiles has exploded in the last few years. A precise estimation of the vehicle's motion is crucial for higher levels of autonomous driving functionality. Recent research has been done on the development of sensors to improve the localization accuracy of these vehicles. Recent sensor odometry research suggests that Lidar Monocular Visual Odometry (LIMO) can be beneficial for determining odometry. However, the LIMO algorithm has a considerable number of errors when compared to ground truth, which motivates us to investigate ways to make it far more accurate. We intend to use a Genetic Algorithm (GA) in our dissertation to improve LIMO's performance. Robotic manipulator research has also been popular and has room for development, which piqued our interest. As a result, we researched robotic manipulators and applied GA to Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG) and Hindsight Experience Replay (HER) (GA+DDPG+HER). Finally, we kept researching DDPG and created an algorithm named AACHER. AACHER uses HER and many independent instances of actors and critics from the DDPG to increase a robot's learning effectiveness. AACHER is used to evaluate the results in both custom and existing robot environments.In the first part of our research, we discuss the LIMO algorithm, an odometry estimation technique that employs a camera and a Lidar for visual localization by tracking features from their measurements. LIMO can estimate sensor motion via Bundle Adjustment based on reliable keyframes. LIMO employs weights of the vegetative landmarks and semantic labeling to reject outliers. LIMO, like many other odometry estimating methods, has the issue of having a lot of hyperparameters that need to be manually modified in response to dynamic changes in the environment to reduce translational errors. The GA has been proven to be useful in determining near-optimal values of learning hyperparameters. In our study, we present and propose the application of the GA to maximize the performance of LIMO's localization and motion estimates by optimizing its hyperparameters. We test our approach using the well-known KITTI dataset and demonstrate how the GA supports LIMO to lower translation errors in various datasets. Our second contribution includes the use of RL. Robots using RL can select actions based on a reward function. On the other hand, the choice of values for the learning algorithm's hyperparameters could have a big impact on the entire learning process. We used GA to find the hyperparameters for the Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient (DDPG) and Hindsight Experience Replay (HER). We proposed the algorithm GA+DDPG+HER to optimize learning hyperparameters and applied it to the robotic manipulation tasks of FetchReach, FetchSlide, FetchPush, FetchPick\&Place, and DoorOpening. With only a few modifications, our proposed GA+DDPG+HER was also used in the AuboReach environment. Compared to the original algorithm (DDPG+HER), our experiments show that our approach (GA+DDPG+HER) yields noticeably better results and is substantially faster. In the final part of our dissertation, we were motivated to use and improve DDPG. Many simulated continuous control problems have shown promising results for the DDPG, a unique Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) technique. DDPG has two parts: Actor learning and Critic learning. The performance of the DDPG technique is therefore relatively sensitive and unstable because actor and critic learning is a considerable contributor to the robot’s total learning. Our dissertation suggests a multi-actor-critic DDPG for reliable actor-critic learning as an improved DDPG to further enhance the performance and stability of DDPG. This multi-actor-critic DDPG is further combined with HER, called AACHER. The average value of numerous actors/critics is used to replace the single actor/critic in the traditional DDPG approach for improved resistance when one actor/critic performs poorly. Numerous independent actors and critics can also learn from the environment in general. In all the actor/critic number combinations that are evaluated, AACHER performs better than DDPG+HER.