AI News, Research makes robots better at following spoken instructions

Research makes robots better at following spoken instructions

The research was led by Dilip Arumugam and Siddharth Karamcheti, both undergraduates at Brown when the work was performed (Arumugam is now a Brown graduate student).

'The issue we're addressing is language grounding, which means having a robot take natural language commands and generate behaviors that successfully complete a task,' Arumugam said.

That's a highly abstract command that implies a number of smaller sub-steps -- lining up the lift, putting the forks underneath and hoisting it up.

But without taking into account the specificity of the instructions, the robot might overplan for simple instructions, or underplan for more abstract instructions that involve more sub-steps.

In addition to simply inferring a desired task from language, the new system also analyzes the language to infer a distinct level of abstraction.

The online domain consists of a few color-coded rooms, a robotic agent and an object that can be manipulated -- in this case, a chair that can be moved from room to room.

Mechanical Turk volunteers watched the robot agent perform a task in the Cleanup World domain -- for example, moving the chair from a red room to an adjacent blue room.

The instructions ranged from the high-level: 'Take the chair to the blue room' to the stepwise-level: 'Take five steps north, turn right, take two more steps, get the chair, turn left, turn left, take five steps south.'

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