Imitation learning empowers artificial agents to mimic behavior by learning from demonstrations. Recently, diffusion models, which have the ability to model high-dimensional and multimodal distributions, have shown impressive performance on imitation learning tasks. These models learn to shape a policy by diffusing actions (or states) from standard Gaussian noise. However, the target policy to be learned is often significantly different from Gaussian and this mismatch can result in poor performance when using a small number of diffusion steps (to improve inference speed) and under limited data. The key idea in this work is that initiating from a more informative source than Gaussian enables diffusion methods to overcome the above limitations. We contribute both theoretical results, a new method, and empirical findings that show the benefits of using an informative source policy. Our method, which we call BRIDGER, leverages the stochastic interpolants framework to bridge arbitrary policies, thus enabling a flexible approach towards imitation learning. It generalizes prior work in that standard Gaussians can still be applied, but other source policies can be used if available. In experiments on challenging benchmarks, BRIDGER outperforms state-of-the-art diffusion policies and we provide further analysis on design considerations when applying BRIDGER.
This paper addresses the multi-faceted problem of robot grasping, where multiple criteria may conflict and differ in importance. We introduce Grasp Ranking and Criteria Evaluation (GRaCE), a novel approach that employs hierarchical rule-based logic and a rank-preserving utility function to optimize grasps based on various criteria such as stability, kinematic constraints, and goal-oriented functionalities. Additionally, we propose GRaCE-OPT, a hybrid optimization strategy that combines gradient-based and gradient-free methods to effectively navigate the complex, non-convex utility function. Experimental results in both simulated and real-world scenarios show that GRaCE requires fewer samples to achieve comparable or superior performance relative to existing methods. The modular architecture of GRaCE allows for easy customization and adaptation to specific application needs.
In this paper, we investigate how field programmable gate arrays can serve as hardware accelerators for real-time semantic segmentation tasks relevant for autonomous driving. Considering compressed versions of the ENet convolutional neural network architecture, we demonstrate a fully-on-chip deployment with a latency of 4.9 ms per image, using less than 30% of the available resources on a Xilinx ZCU102 evaluation board. The latency is reduced to 3 ms per image when increasing the batch size to ten, corresponding to the use case where the autonomous vehicle receives inputs from multiple cameras simultaneously. We show, through aggressive filter reduction and heterogeneous quantization-aware training, and an optimized implementation of convolutional layers, that the power consumption and resource utilization can be significantly reduced while maintaining accuracy on the Cityscapes dataset.