ViNT: A Foundation Model for Visual NavigationDownload PDF

Published: 30 Aug 2023, Last Modified: 25 Oct 2023CoRL 2023 OralReaders: Everyone
Keywords: visual navigation, multi-task learning, planning, generalization
Abstract: General-purpose pre-trained models (``foundation models'') have enabled practitioners to produce generalizable solutions for individual machine learning problems with datasets that are significantly smaller than those required for learning from scratch. Such models are typically trained on large and diverse datasets with weak supervision, consuming much more training data than is available for any individual downstream application. In this paper, we describe the Visual Navigation Transformer (ViNT), a foundation model that aims to bring the success of general-purpose pre-trained models to vision-based robotic navigation. ViNT is trained with a general goal-reaching objective that can be used with any navigation dataset, and employs a flexible Transformer-based architecture to learn navigational affordances and enable efficient adaptation to a variety of downstream navigational tasks. ViNT is trained on a number of existing navigation datasets, comprising hundreds of hours of robotic navigation from a variety of different robotic platforms, and exhibits positive transfer, outperforming specialist models trained on narrower datasets. ViNT can be augmented with diffusion-based goal proposals to explore novel environments, and can solve kilometer-scale navigation problems when equipped with long-range heuristics. ViNT can also be adapted to novel task specifications with a technique inspired by prompt-tuning, where the goal encoder is replaced by an encoding of another task modality (e.g., GPS waypoints or turn-by-turn directions) embedded into the same space of goal tokens. This flexibility and ability to accommodate a variety of downstream problem domains establish ViNT as an effective foundation model for mobile robotics.
Student First Author: yes
Supplementary Material: zip
Instructions: I have read the instructions for authors (
TL;DR: Large Transformer-based backbone for navigation, trained with cross-embodiment datasets, that supports broad generalization and efficient adaptation to downstream tasks.
Publication Agreement: pdf
14 Replies