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Title    These Virtual Obstacle Courses Help Real Robots Learn to Walk
Date    Tuesday October 12, @04:14PM
Author    martyb
from the dept.

upstart writes:

These Virtual Obstacle Courses Help Real Robots Learn to Walk:

The virtual robot army was developed by researchers from ETH Zurich in Switzerland and chipmaker Nvidia. They used the wandering bots to train an algorithm that was then used to control the legs of a real-world robot.

In the simulation, the machines—called ANYmals—confront challenges like slopes, steps, and steep drops in a virtual landscape. Each time a robot learned to navigate a challenge, the researchers presented a harder one, nudging the control algorithm to be more sophisticated.

From a distance, the resulting scenes resemble an army of ants wriggling across a large area. During training, the robots were able to master walking up and down stairs easily enough; more complex obstacles took longer. Tackling slopes proved particularly difficult, although some of the virtual robots learned how to slide down them.

When the resulting algorithm was transferred to a real version of ANYmal, a four-legged robot roughly the size of a large dog with sensors on its head and a detachable robot arm, it was able to navigate stairs and blocks but suffered problems at higher speeds. Researchers blamed inaccuracies in how its sensors perceive the real world compared to the simulation,

Similar kinds of robot learning could help machines learn all sorts of useful things, from sorting packages to sewing clothes and harvesting crops. The project also reflects the importance of simulation and custom computer chips for future progress in applied artificial intelligence.

"At a high level, very fast simulation is a really great thing to have," says Pieter Abbeel, a professor at UC Berkeley and cofounder of Covariant, a company that is using AI and simulations to train robot arms to pick and sort objects for logistics firms. He says the Swiss and Nvidia researchers "got some nice speed-ups."

A 2m21s video is available on YouTube.

See also: Robots can now skateboard, thanks to researchers from Caltech

A research team at The California Institute of Technology has built a robot with hybrid walking and flying movement. The robot can carry out manoeuvres such as flying to avoid stairs and skateboarding.

Original Submission


  1. "upstart" -
  2. "These Virtual Obstacle Courses Help Real Robots Learn to Walk" -
  3. "ETH Zurich" -
  4. "Nvidia" -
  5. "algorithm" -
  6. "ANYmals" -
  7. "sorting packages" -
  8. "sewing clothes" -
  9. "harvesting crops" -
  10. "artificial intelligence" -
  11. "Pieter Abbeel" -
  12. "Covariant" -
  13. "YouTube" -
  14. "Robots can now skateboard, thanks to researchers from Caltech" -
  15. "Original Submission" -

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printed from SoylentNews, These Virtual Obstacle Courses Help Real Robots Learn to Walk on 2021-10-21 23:08:58