Keywords: benchmarking, video prediction, visual MPC, manipulation
TL;DR: We find that existing video evaluation metrics are not always indicative of a model's performance during control, and propose a benchmark that directly evaluates video prediction models on simulated manipulation tasks by using them for planning.
Abstract: Video is a promising source of knowledge for embodied agents to learn models of the world's dynamics. Large deep networks have become increasingly effective at modeling complex video data in a self-supervised manner, as evaluated by metrics based on human perceptual similarity or pixel-wise comparison. However, it remains unclear whether current metrics are accurate indicators of performance on downstream tasks. We find empirically that for planning robotic manipulation, existing metrics can be unreliable at predicting execution success. To address this, we propose a benchmark for action-conditioned video prediction in the form of a control benchmark that evaluates a given model for simulated robotic manipulation through sampling-based planning. Our benchmark, Video Prediction for Visual Planning ($VP^2$), includes simulated environments with $11$ task categories and $310$ task instance definitions, a full planning implementation, and training datasets containing scripted interaction trajectories for each task category. A central design goal of our benchmark is to expose a simple interface -- a single forward prediction call -- so it is straightforward to evaluate almost any action-conditioned video prediction model. We then leverage our benchmark to study the effects of scaling model size, quantity of training data, and model ensembling by analyzing three highly-performant video prediction models, finding that while scale can improve perceptual quality when modelling visually diverse settings, other attributes such as uncertainty awareness can also aid planning performance.
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