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Neural Volumetric Memory for Visual Locomotion Control

Ruihan Yang · Ge Yang · Xiaolong Wang

West Building Exhibit Halls ABC 136
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Legged robots have the potential to expand the reach of autonomy beyond paved roads. In this work, we consider the difficult problem of locomotion on challenging terrains using a single forward-facing depth camera. Due to the partial observability of the problem, the robot has to rely on past observations to infer the terrain currently beneath it. To solve this problem, we follow the paradigm in computer vision that explicitly models the 3D geometry of the scene and propose Neural Volumetric Memory (NVM), a geometric memory architecture that explicitly accounts for the SE(3) equivariance of the 3D world. NVM aggregates feature volumes from multiple camera views by first bringing them back to the ego-centric frame of the robot. We test the learned visual-locomotion policy on a physical robot and show that our approach, learning legged locomotion with neural volumetric memory, produces performance gains over prior works on challenging terrains. We include ablation studies and show that the representations stored in the neural volumetric memory capture sufficient geometric information to reconstruct the scene. Our project page with videos is

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