Prompt-based learning has been demonstrated as a compelling paradigm contributing to large language models' tremendous success (LLMs). Inspired by their success in language tasks, existing research has leveraged LLMs in embodied instruction following and task planning. However, not much attention has been paid to embodied tasks with multimodal prompts, combining vision signals with text descriptions. This type of task poses a major challenge to robots' capability to understand the interconnection and complementarity between vision and language signals. In this work, we introduce an effective framework that learns a policy to perform robot manipulation with multimodal prompts from multi-task expert trajectories. Our methods consist of a two-stage training pipeline that performs inverse dynamics pretraining and multi-task finetuning. To facilitate multimodal understanding, we design our multimodal prompt encoder by augmenting a pretrained LM with a residual connection to the visual input and model the dependencies among action dimensions. Empirically, we evaluate the efficacy of our method on the VIMA-BENCH and establish a new state-of-the-art (10% improvement in success rate). Moreover, we demonstrate that our model exhibits remarkable in-context learning ability.
The Alexa Prize program has empowered numerous university students to explore, experiment, and showcase their talents in building conversational agents through challenges like the SocialBot Grand Challenge and the TaskBot Challenge. As conversational agents increasingly appear in multimodal and embodied contexts, it is important to explore the affordances of conversational interaction augmented with computer vision and physical embodiment. This paper describes the SimBot Challenge, a new challenge in which university teams compete to build robot assistants that complete tasks in a simulated physical environment. This paper provides an overview of the SimBot Challenge, which included both online and offline challenge phases. We describe the infrastructure and support provided to the teams including Alexa Arena, the simulated environment, and the ML toolkit provided to teams to accelerate their building of vision and language models. We summarize the approaches the participating teams took to overcome research challenges and extract key lessons learned. Finally, we provide analysis of the performance of the competing SimBots during the competition.
Complex manipulation tasks often require robots with complementary capabilities to collaborate. We introduce a benchmark for LanguagE-Conditioned Multi-robot MAnipulation (LEMMA) focused on task allocation and long-horizon object manipulation based on human language instructions in a tabletop setting. LEMMA features 8 types of procedurally generated tasks with varying degree of complexity, some of which require the robots to use tools and pass tools to each other. For each task, we provide 800 expert demonstrations and human instructions for training and evaluations. LEMMA poses greater challenges compared to existing benchmarks, as it requires the system to identify each manipulator's limitations and assign sub-tasks accordingly while also handling strong temporal dependencies in each task. To address these challenges, we propose a modular hierarchical planning approach as a baseline. Our results highlight the potential of LEMMA for developing future language-conditioned multi-robot systems.
We introduce Alexa Arena, a user-centric simulation platform for Embodied AI (EAI) research. Alexa Arena provides a variety of multi-room layouts and interactable objects, for the creation of human-robot interaction (HRI) missions. With user-friendly graphics and control mechanisms, Alexa Arena supports the development of gamified robotic tasks readily accessible to general human users, thus opening a new venue for high-efficiency HRI data collection and EAI system evaluation. Along with the platform, we introduce a dialog-enabled instruction-following benchmark and provide baseline results for it. We make Alexa Arena publicly available to facilitate research in building generalizable and assistive embodied agents.