Ben Talbot

Ben Talbot
Queensland University of Technology | QUT · School of Electrical Engineering and Robotics

Doctor of Philosophy

About

19
Publications
3,120
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200
Citations

Publications

Publications (19)
Article
We present a platform to foster research in active scene understanding, consisting of high-fidelity simulated environments and a simple yet powerful API that controls a mobile robot in simulation and reality. In contrast to static, pre-recorded datasets that focus on the perception aspect of scene understanding, agency is a top priority in our work...
Preprint
Full-text available
While deep reinforcement learning (RL) agents have demonstrated incredible potential in attaining dexterous behaviours for robotics, they tend to make errors when deployed in the real world due to mismatches between the training and execution environments. In contrast, the classical robotics community have developed a range of controllers that can...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent Semantic SLAM methods combine classical geometry-based estimation with deep learning-based object detection or semantic segmentation. In this paper we evaluate the quality of semantic maps generated by state-of-the-art class- and instance-aware dense semantic SLAM algorithms whose codes are publicly available and explore the impacts both sem...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recent Semantic SLAM methods combine classical geometry-based estimation with deep learning-based object detection or semantic segmentation. In this paper we evaluate the quality of semantic maps generated by state-of-the-art class- and instance-aware dense semantic SLAM algorithms whose codes are publicly available and explore the impacts both sem...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present Bayesian Controller Fusion (BCF): a hybrid control strategy that combines the strengths of traditional hand-crafted controllers and model-free deep reinforcement learning (RL). BCF thrives in the robotics domain, where reliable but suboptimal control priors exist for many tasks, but RL from scratch remains unsafe and data-inefficient. By...
Preprint
Full-text available
Being able to explore an environment and understand the location and type of all objects therein is important for indoor robotic platforms that must interact closely with humans. However, it is difficult to evaluate progress in this area due to a lack of standardized testing which is limited due to the need for active robot agency and perfect objec...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce BenchBot, a novel software suite for benchmarking the performance of robotics research across both photorealistic 3D simulations and real robot platforms. BenchBot provides a simple interface to the sensorimotor capabilities of a robot when solving robotics research problems; an interface that is consistent regardless of whether the ta...
Article
Human navigation in built environments depends on symbolic spatial information which has unrealised potential to enhance robot navigation capabilities. Information sources such as labels, signs, maps, planners, spoken directions, and navigational gestures communicate a wealth of spatial information to the navigators of built environments; a wealth...
Preprint
Full-text available
Learning-based approaches often outperform hand-coded algorithmic solutions for many problems in robotics. However, learning long-horizon tasks on real robot hardware can be intractable, and transferring a learned policy from simulation to reality is still extremely challenging. We present a novel approach to model-free reinforcement learning that...
Preprint
Full-text available
Human navigation in built environments depends on symbolic spatial information which has unrealised potential to enhance robot navigation capabilities. Information sources such as labels, signs, maps, planners, spoken directions, and navigational gestures communicate a wealth of spatial information to the navigators of built environments; a wealth...
Preprint
In this work we focus on improving the efficiency and generalisation of learned navigation strategies when transferred from its training environment to previously unseen ones. We present an extension of the residual reinforcement learning framework from the robotic manipulation literature and adapt it to the vast and unstructured environments that...
Article
Full-text available
Visually recognising a traversed route - regardless of whether seen during the day or night, in clear or inclement conditions, or in summer or winter - is an important capability for navigating robots. Since SeqSLAM was introduced in 2012, a large body of work has followed exploring how robotic systems can use the algorithm to meet the challenges p...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we focus on the challenging problem of place categorization and semantic mapping on a robot without environment-specific training. Motivated by their ongoing success in various visual recognition tasks, we build our system upon a state-of-the-art convolutional network. We overcome its closed-set limitations by complementing the networ...
Article
In this paper we present for the first time a complete symbolic navigation system that performs goal-directed exploration to unfamiliar environments on a physical robot. We introduce a novel construct called the abstract map to link provided symbolic spatial information with observed symbolic information and actual places in the real world. Symboli...

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Project
Deep reinforcement learning (RL) shows immense potential for autonomous navigation agents to learn complex behaviours that are typically difficult to specify analytically via classical, hand-crafted approaches. However, they often require extensive amounts of online training data, a limiting factor for real-world robot applications. Additionally, RL policies overfit to their training environment, making them unreliable for safe deployment in new environments when transferring from simulation to the real world. On the other hand, classical approaches in reactive navigation can guarantee safety and reliably adapt to diverse environments via parameter-tuning, though they lack the capability to efficiently navigate in cluttered environments and are susceptible to oscillations, seizure in local minima and poor path efficiency. The high level skills required to overcome these inefficiencies are difficult to hand-engineer explicitly, and tend to deteriorate in performance when extensively tuned for a particular environment. In this work, we combine classical and learned strategies in order to address their respective limitations.