Student First Author: yes
Keywords: Visual Navigation, Embodied AI, Image-Goal Navigation, Perspective-n-Point, AI Habitat, Sim-to-Real
TL;DR: A last-mile navigation module that connects to prior policies, leading to improved image-goal navigation results in simulation and real-robot experiments.
Abstract: Realistic long-horizon tasks like image-goal navigation involve exploratory and exploitative phases. Assigned with an image of the goal, an embodied agent must explore to discover the goal, i.e., search efficiently using learned priors. Once the goal is discovered, the agent must accurately calibrate the last-mile of navigation to the goal. As with any robust system, switches between exploratory goal discovery and exploitative last-mile navigation enable better recovery from errors. Following these intuitive guide rails, we propose SLING to improve the performance of existing image-goal navigation systems. Entirely complementing prior methods, we focus on last-mile navigation and leverage the underlying geometric structure of the problem with neural descriptors. With simple but effective switches, we can easily connect SLING with heuristic, reinforcement learning, and neural modular policies. On a standardized image-goal navigation benchmark (Hahn et al. 2021), we improve performance across policies, scenes, and episode complexity, raising the state-of-the-art from 45% to 55% success rate. Beyond photorealistic simulation, we conduct real-robot experiments in three physical scenes and find these improvements to transfer well to real environments.
Supplementary Material: zip