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Tianli Ding

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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

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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

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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 $\href{}{\text{}}$.

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Robotic Table Tennis: A Case Study into a High Speed Learning System

Sep 06, 2023
David B. D'Ambrosio, Jonathan Abelian, Saminda Abeyruwan, Michael Ahn, Alex Bewley, Justin Boyd, Krzysztof Choromanski, Omar Cortes, Erwin Coumans, Tianli Ding, Wenbo Gao, Laura Graesser, Atil Iscen, Navdeep Jaitly, Deepali Jain, Juhana Kangaspunta, Satoshi Kataoka, Gus Kouretas, Yuheng Kuang, Nevena Lazic, Corey Lynch, Reza Mahjourian, Sherry Q. Moore, Thinh Nguyen, Ken Oslund, Barney J Reed, Krista Reymann, Pannag R. Sanketi, Anish Shankar, Pierre Sermanet, Vikas Sindhwani, Avi Singh, Vincent Vanhoucke, Grace Vesom, Peng Xu

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We present a deep-dive into a real-world robotic learning system that, in previous work, was shown to be capable of hundreds of table tennis rallies with a human and has the ability to precisely return the ball to desired targets. This system puts together a highly optimized perception subsystem, a high-speed low-latency robot controller, a simulation paradigm that can prevent damage in the real world and also train policies for zero-shot transfer, and automated real world environment resets that enable autonomous training and evaluation on physical robots. We complement a complete system description, including numerous design decisions that are typically not widely disseminated, with a collection of studies that clarify the importance of mitigating various sources of latency, accounting for training and deployment distribution shifts, robustness of the perception system, sensitivity to policy hyper-parameters, and choice of action space. A video demonstrating the components of the system and details of experimental results can be found at

* Published and presented at Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS2023) 
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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

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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: 
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Interactive Language: Talking to Robots in Real Time

Oct 12, 2022
Corey Lynch, Ayzaan Wahid, Jonathan Tompson, Tianli Ding, James Betker, Robert Baruch, Travis Armstrong, Pete Florence

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We present a framework for building interactive, real-time, natural language-instructable robots in the real world, and we open source related assets (dataset, environment, benchmark, and policies). Trained with behavioral cloning on a dataset of hundreds of thousands of language-annotated trajectories, a produced policy can proficiently execute an order of magnitude more commands than previous works: specifically we estimate a 93.5% success rate on a set of 87,000 unique natural language strings specifying raw end-to-end visuo-linguo-motor skills in the real world. We find that the same policy is capable of being guided by a human via real-time language to address a wide range of precise long-horizon rearrangement goals, e.g. "make a smiley face out of blocks". The dataset we release comprises nearly 600,000 language-labeled trajectories, an order of magnitude larger than prior available datasets. We hope the demonstrated results and associated assets enable further advancement of helpful, capable, natural-language-interactable robots. See videos at

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Learning High Speed Precision Table Tennis on a Physical Robot

Oct 07, 2022
Tianli Ding, Laura Graesser, Saminda Abeyruwan, David B. D'Ambrosio, Anish Shankar, Pierre Sermanet, Pannag R. Sanketi, Corey Lynch

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Learning goal conditioned control in the real world is a challenging open problem in robotics. Reinforcement learning systems have the potential to learn autonomously via trial-and-error, but in practice the costs of manual reward design, ensuring safe exploration, and hyperparameter tuning are often enough to preclude real world deployment. Imitation learning approaches, on the other hand, offer a simple way to learn control in the real world, but typically require costly curated demonstration data and lack a mechanism for continuous improvement. Recently, iterative imitation techniques have been shown to learn goal directed control from undirected demonstration data, and improve continuously via self-supervised goal reaching, but results thus far have been limited to simulated environments. In this work, we present evidence that iterative imitation learning can scale to goal-directed behavior on a real robot in a dynamic setting: high speed, precision table tennis (e.g. "land the ball on this particular target"). We find that this approach offers a straightforward way to do continuous on-robot learning, without complexities such as reward design or sim-to-real transfer. It is also scalable -- sample efficient enough to train on a physical robot in just a few hours. In real world evaluations, we find that the resulting policy can perform on par or better than amateur humans (with players sampled randomly from a robotics lab) at the task of returning the ball to specific targets on the table. Finally, we analyze the effect of an initial undirected bootstrap dataset size on performance, finding that a modest amount of unstructured demonstration data provided up-front drastically speeds up the convergence of a general purpose goal-reaching policy. See for videos.

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