Alert button
Picture for Brian Ichter

Brian Ichter

Alert button

RoboVQA: Multimodal Long-Horizon Reasoning for Robotics

Nov 01, 2023
Pierre Sermanet, Tianli Ding, Jeffrey Zhao, Fei Xia, Debidatta Dwibedi, Keerthana Gopalakrishnan, Christine Chan, Gabriel Dulac-Arnold, Sharath Maddineni, Nikhil J Joshi, Pete Florence, Wei Han, Robert Baruch, Yao Lu, Suvir Mirchandani, Peng Xu, Pannag Sanketi, Karol Hausman, Izhak Shafran, Brian Ichter, Yuan Cao

We present a scalable, bottom-up and intrinsically diverse data collection scheme that can be used for high-level reasoning with long and medium horizons and that has 2.2x higher throughput compared to traditional narrow top-down step-by-step collection. We collect realistic data by performing any user requests within the entirety of 3 office buildings and using multiple robot and human embodiments. With this data, we show that models trained on all embodiments perform better than ones trained on the robot data only, even when evaluated solely on robot episodes. We find that for a fixed collection budget it is beneficial to take advantage of cheaper human collection along with robot collection. We release a large and highly diverse (29,520 unique instructions) dataset dubbed RoboVQA containing 829,502 (video, text) pairs for robotics-focused visual question answering. We also demonstrate how evaluating real robot experiments with an intervention mechanism enables performing tasks to completion, making it deployable with human oversight even if imperfect while also providing a single performance metric. We demonstrate a single video-conditioned model named RoboVQA-VideoCoCa trained on our dataset that is capable of performing a variety of grounded high-level reasoning tasks in broad realistic settings with a cognitive intervention rate 46% lower than the zero-shot state of the art visual language model (VLM) baseline and is able to guide real robots through long-horizon tasks. The performance gap with zero-shot state-of-the-art models indicates that a lot of grounded data remains to be collected for real-world deployment, emphasizing the critical need for scalable data collection approaches. Finally, we show that video VLMs significantly outperform single-image VLMs with an average error rate reduction of 19% across all VQA tasks. Data and videos available at

Viaarxiv icon

Conditionally Combining Robot Skills using Large Language Models

Oct 25, 2023
K. R. Zentner, Ryan Julian, Brian Ichter, Gaurav S. Sukhatme

This paper combines two contributions. First, we introduce an extension of the Meta-World benchmark, which we call "Language-World," which allows a large language model to operate in a simulated robotic environment using semi-structured natural language queries and scripted skills described using natural language. By using the same set of tasks as Meta-World, Language-World results can be easily compared to Meta-World results, allowing for a point of comparison between recent methods using Large Language Models (LLMs) and those using Deep Reinforcement Learning. Second, we introduce a method we call Plan Conditioned Behavioral Cloning (PCBC), that allows finetuning the behavior of high-level plans using end-to-end demonstrations. Using Language-World, we show that PCBC is able to achieve strong performance in a variety of few-shot regimes, often achieving task generalization with as little as a single demonstration. We have made Language-World available as open-source software at

Viaarxiv icon

Open X-Embodiment: Robotic Learning Datasets and RT-X Models

Oct 17, 2023
Open X-Embodiment Collaboration, Abhishek Padalkar, Acorn Pooley, Ajinkya Jain, Alex Bewley, Alex Herzog, Alex Irpan, Alexander Khazatsky, Anant Rai, Anikait Singh, Anthony Brohan, Antonin Raffin, Ayzaan Wahid, Ben Burgess-Limerick, Beomjoon Kim, Bernhard Schölkopf, Brian Ichter, Cewu Lu, Charles Xu, Chelsea Finn, Chenfeng Xu, Cheng Chi, Chenguang Huang, Christine Chan, Chuer Pan, Chuyuan Fu, Coline Devin, Danny Driess, Deepak Pathak, Dhruv Shah, Dieter Büchler, Dmitry Kalashnikov, Dorsa Sadigh, Edward Johns, Federico Ceola, Fei Xia, Freek Stulp, Gaoyue Zhou, Gaurav S. Sukhatme, Gautam Salhotra, Ge Yan, Giulio Schiavi, Gregory Kahn, Hao Su, Hao-Shu Fang, Haochen Shi, Heni Ben Amor, Henrik I Christensen, Hiroki Furuta, Homer Walke, Hongjie Fang, Igor Mordatch, Ilija Radosavovic, Isabel Leal, Jacky Liang, Jad Abou-Chakra, Jaehyung Kim, Jan Peters, Jan Schneider, Jasmine Hsu, Jeannette Bohg, Jeffrey Bingham, Jiajun Wu, Jialin Wu, Jianlan Luo, Jiayuan Gu, Jie Tan, Jihoon Oh, Jitendra Malik, Jonathan Tompson, Jonathan Yang, Joseph J. Lim, João Silvério, Junhyek Han, Kanishka Rao, Karl Pertsch, Karol Hausman, Keegan Go, Keerthana Gopalakrishnan, Ken Goldberg, Kendra Byrne, Kenneth Oslund, Kento Kawaharazuka, Kevin Zhang, Krishan Rana, Krishnan Srinivasan, Lawrence Yunliang Chen, Lerrel Pinto, Liam Tan, Lionel Ott, Lisa Lee, Masayoshi Tomizuka, Maximilian Du, Michael Ahn, Mingtong Zhang, Mingyu Ding, Mohan Kumar Srirama, Mohit Sharma, Moo Jin Kim, Naoaki Kanazawa, Nicklas Hansen, Nicolas Heess, Nikhil J Joshi, Niko Suenderhauf, Norman Di Palo, Nur Muhammad Mahi Shafiullah, Oier Mees, Oliver Kroemer, Pannag R Sanketi, Paul Wohlhart, Peng Xu, Pierre Sermanet, Priya Sundaresan, Quan Vuong, Rafael Rafailov, Ran Tian, Ria Doshi, Roberto Martín-Martín, Russell Mendonca, Rutav Shah, Ryan Hoque, Ryan Julian, Samuel Bustamante, Sean Kirmani, Sergey Levine, Sherry Moore, Shikhar Bahl, Shivin Dass, Shubham Sonawani, Shuran Song, Sichun Xu, Siddhant Haldar, Simeon Adebola, Simon Guist, Soroush Nasiriany, Stefan Schaal, Stefan Welker, Stephen Tian, Sudeep Dasari, Suneel Belkhale, Takayuki Osa, Tatsuya Harada, Tatsuya Matsushima, Ted Xiao, Tianhe Yu, Tianli Ding, Todor Davchev, Tony Z. Zhao, Travis Armstrong, Trevor Darrell, Vidhi Jain, Vincent Vanhoucke, Wei Zhan, Wenxuan Zhou, Wolfram Burgard, Xi Chen, Xiaolong Wang, Xinghao Zhu, Xuanlin Li, Yao Lu, Yevgen Chebotar, Yifan Zhou, Yifeng Zhu, Ying Xu, Yixuan Wang, Yonatan Bisk, Yoonyoung Cho, Youngwoon Lee, Yuchen Cui, Yueh-Hua Wu, Yujin Tang, Yuke Zhu, Yunzhu Li, Yusuke Iwasawa, Yutaka Matsuo, Zhuo Xu, Zichen Jeff Cui

Figure 1 for Open X-Embodiment: Robotic Learning Datasets and RT-X Models
Figure 2 for Open X-Embodiment: Robotic Learning Datasets and RT-X Models
Figure 3 for Open X-Embodiment: Robotic Learning Datasets and RT-X Models
Figure 4 for Open X-Embodiment: Robotic Learning Datasets and RT-X Models

Large, high-capacity models trained on diverse datasets have shown remarkable successes on efficiently tackling downstream applications. In domains from NLP to Computer Vision, this has led to a consolidation of pretrained models, with general pretrained backbones serving as a starting point for many applications. Can such a consolidation happen in robotics? Conventionally, robotic learning methods train a separate model for every application, every robot, and even every environment. Can we instead train generalist X-robot policy that can be adapted efficiently to new robots, tasks, and environments? In this paper, we provide datasets in standardized data formats and models to make it possible to explore this possibility in the context of robotic manipulation, alongside experimental results that provide an example of effective X-robot policies. We assemble a dataset from 22 different robots collected through a collaboration between 21 institutions, demonstrating 527 skills (160266 tasks). We show that a high-capacity model trained on this data, which we call RT-X, exhibits positive transfer and improves the capabilities of multiple robots by leveraging experience from other platforms. More details can be found on the project website $\href{}{\text{}}$.

Viaarxiv icon

Video Language Planning

Oct 16, 2023
Yilun Du, Mengjiao Yang, Pete Florence, Fei Xia, Ayzaan Wahid, Brian Ichter, Pierre Sermanet, Tianhe Yu, Pieter Abbeel, Joshua B. Tenenbaum, Leslie Kaelbling, Andy Zeng, Jonathan Tompson

We are interested in enabling visual planning for complex long-horizon tasks in the space of generated videos and language, leveraging recent advances in large generative models pretrained on Internet-scale data. To this end, we present video language planning (VLP), an algorithm that consists of a tree search procedure, where we train (i) vision-language models to serve as both policies and value functions, and (ii) text-to-video models as dynamics models. VLP takes as input a long-horizon task instruction and current image observation, and outputs a long video plan that provides detailed multimodal (video and language) specifications that describe how to complete the final task. VLP scales with increasing computation budget where more computation time results in improved video plans, and is able to synthesize long-horizon video plans across different robotics domains: from multi-object rearrangement, to multi-camera bi-arm dexterous manipulation. Generated video plans can be translated into real robot actions via goal-conditioned policies, conditioned on each intermediate frame of the generated video. Experiments show that VLP substantially improves long-horizon task success rates compared to prior methods on both simulated and real robots (across 3 hardware platforms).

Viaarxiv icon

Navigation with Large Language Models: Semantic Guesswork as a Heuristic for Planning

Oct 16, 2023
Dhruv Shah, Michael Equi, Blazej Osinski, Fei Xia, Brian Ichter, Sergey Levine

Navigation in unfamiliar environments presents a major challenge for robots: while mapping and planning techniques can be used to build up a representation of the world, quickly discovering a path to a desired goal in unfamiliar settings with such methods often requires lengthy mapping and exploration. Humans can rapidly navigate new environments, particularly indoor environments that are laid out logically, by leveraging semantics -- e.g., a kitchen often adjoins a living room, an exit sign indicates the way out, and so forth. Language models can provide robots with such knowledge, but directly using language models to instruct a robot how to reach some destination can also be impractical: while language models might produce a narrative about how to reach some goal, because they are not grounded in real-world observations, this narrative might be arbitrarily wrong. Therefore, in this paper we study how the ``semantic guesswork'' produced by language models can be utilized as a guiding heuristic for planning algorithms. Our method, Language Frontier Guide (LFG), uses the language model to bias exploration of novel real-world environments by incorporating the semantic knowledge stored in language models as a search heuristic for planning with either topological or metric maps. We evaluate LFG in challenging real-world environments and simulated benchmarks, outperforming uninformed exploration and other ways of using language models.

* Videos, code, and an interactive Colab notebook that runs in your browser 
Viaarxiv icon

Physically Grounded Vision-Language Models for Robotic Manipulation

Sep 13, 2023
Jensen Gao, Bidipta Sarkar, Fei Xia, Ted Xiao, Jiajun Wu, Brian Ichter, Anirudha Majumdar, Dorsa Sadigh

Figure 1 for Physically Grounded Vision-Language Models for Robotic Manipulation
Figure 2 for Physically Grounded Vision-Language Models for Robotic Manipulation
Figure 3 for Physically Grounded Vision-Language Models for Robotic Manipulation
Figure 4 for Physically Grounded Vision-Language Models for Robotic Manipulation

Recent advances in vision-language models (VLMs) have led to improved performance on tasks such as visual question answering and image captioning. Consequently, these models are now well-positioned to reason about the physical world, particularly within domains such as robotic manipulation. However, current VLMs are limited in their understanding of the physical concepts (e.g., material, fragility) of common objects, which restricts their usefulness for robotic manipulation tasks that involve interaction and physical reasoning about such objects. To address this limitation, we propose PhysObjects, an object-centric dataset of 39.6K crowd-sourced and 417K automated physical concept annotations of common household objects. We demonstrate that fine-tuning a VLM on PhysObjects improves its understanding of physical object concepts, including generalization to held-out concepts, by capturing human priors of these concepts from visual appearance. We incorporate this physically-grounded VLM in an interactive framework with a large language model-based robotic planner, and show improved planning performance on tasks that require reasoning about physical object concepts, compared to baselines that do not leverage physically-grounded VLMs. We additionally illustrate the benefits of our physically-grounded VLM on a real robot, where it improves task success rates. We release our dataset and provide further details and visualizations of our results at

* Updated generalization results on held-out concepts 
Viaarxiv icon

RT-2: Vision-Language-Action Models Transfer Web Knowledge to Robotic Control

Jul 28, 2023
Anthony Brohan, Noah Brown, Justice Carbajal, Yevgen Chebotar, Xi Chen, Krzysztof Choromanski, Tianli Ding, Danny Driess, Avinava Dubey, Chelsea Finn, Pete Florence, Chuyuan Fu, Montse Gonzalez Arenas, Keerthana Gopalakrishnan, Kehang Han, Karol Hausman, Alexander Herzog, Jasmine Hsu, Brian Ichter, Alex Irpan, Nikhil Joshi, Ryan Julian, Dmitry Kalashnikov, Yuheng Kuang, Isabel Leal, Lisa Lee, Tsang-Wei Edward Lee, Sergey Levine, Yao Lu, Henryk Michalewski, Igor Mordatch, Karl Pertsch, Kanishka Rao, Krista Reymann, Michael Ryoo, Grecia Salazar, Pannag Sanketi, Pierre Sermanet, Jaspiar Singh, Anikait Singh, Radu Soricut, Huong Tran, Vincent Vanhoucke, Quan Vuong, Ayzaan Wahid, Stefan Welker, Paul Wohlhart, Jialin Wu, Fei Xia, Ted Xiao, Peng Xu, Sichun Xu, Tianhe Yu, Brianna Zitkovich

Figure 1 for RT-2: Vision-Language-Action Models Transfer Web Knowledge to Robotic Control
Figure 2 for RT-2: Vision-Language-Action Models Transfer Web Knowledge to Robotic Control
Figure 3 for RT-2: Vision-Language-Action Models Transfer Web Knowledge to Robotic Control
Figure 4 for RT-2: Vision-Language-Action Models Transfer Web Knowledge to Robotic Control

We study how vision-language models trained on Internet-scale data can be incorporated directly into end-to-end robotic control to boost generalization and enable emergent semantic reasoning. Our goal is to enable a single end-to-end trained model to both learn to map robot observations to actions and enjoy the benefits of large-scale pretraining on language and vision-language data from the web. To this end, we propose to co-fine-tune state-of-the-art vision-language models on both robotic trajectory data and Internet-scale vision-language tasks, such as visual question answering. In contrast to other approaches, we propose a simple, general recipe to achieve this goal: in order to fit both natural language responses and robotic actions into the same format, we express the actions as text tokens and incorporate them directly into the training set of the model in the same way as natural language tokens. We refer to such category of models as vision-language-action models (VLA) and instantiate an example of such a model, which we call RT-2. Our extensive evaluation (6k evaluation trials) shows that our approach leads to performant robotic policies and enables RT-2 to obtain a range of emergent capabilities from Internet-scale training. This includes significantly improved generalization to novel objects, the ability to interpret commands not present in the robot training data (such as placing an object onto a particular number or icon), and the ability to perform rudimentary reasoning in response to user commands (such as picking up the smallest or largest object, or the one closest to another object). We further show that incorporating chain of thought reasoning allows RT-2 to perform multi-stage semantic reasoning, for example figuring out which object to pick up for use as an improvised hammer (a rock), or which type of drink is best suited for someone who is tired (an energy drink).

* Website: 
Viaarxiv icon

Large Language Models as General Pattern Machines

Jul 10, 2023
Suvir Mirchandani, Fei Xia, Pete Florence, Brian Ichter, Danny Driess, Montserrat Gonzalez Arenas, Kanishka Rao, Dorsa Sadigh, Andy Zeng

Figure 1 for Large Language Models as General Pattern Machines
Figure 2 for Large Language Models as General Pattern Machines
Figure 3 for Large Language Models as General Pattern Machines
Figure 4 for Large Language Models as General Pattern Machines

We observe that pre-trained large language models (LLMs) are capable of autoregressively completing complex token sequences -- from arbitrary ones procedurally generated by probabilistic context-free grammars (PCFG), to more rich spatial patterns found in the Abstract Reasoning Corpus (ARC), a general AI benchmark, prompted in the style of ASCII art. Surprisingly, pattern completion proficiency can be partially retained even when the sequences are expressed using tokens randomly sampled from the vocabulary. These results suggest that without any additional training, LLMs can serve as general sequence modelers, driven by in-context learning. In this work, we investigate how these zero-shot capabilities may be applied to problems in robotics -- from extrapolating sequences of numbers that represent states over time to complete simple motions, to least-to-most prompting of reward-conditioned trajectories that can discover and represent closed-loop policies (e.g., a stabilizing controller for CartPole). While difficult to deploy today for real systems due to latency, context size limitations, and compute costs, the approach of using LLMs to drive low-level control may provide an exciting glimpse into how the patterns among words could be transferred to actions.

* 18 pages, 23 figures 
Viaarxiv icon