Uncertainty-driven Planner for Exploration and Navigation

March 1st, 2022

Abstract: We consider the problems of exploration and point-goal navigation in previously unseen environments, where the spatial complexity of indoor scenes and partial observability
constitute these tasks challenging. We argue that learning occupancy priors over indoor maps provides significant advantages towards addressing these problems. To this end, we present a novel planning framework that first learns to generate occupancy maps beyond the field-of-view of the agent, and second leverages the model uncertainty over the generated areas to formulate path selection policies for each task of interest. For point-goal navigation, the policy chooses paths with an upper confidence bound policy for efficient and traversable paths, while for exploration the policy maximizes model uncertainty over candidate paths. We perform experiments in the visually realistic environments of Matterport3D using the Habitat simulator and demonstrate: 1) Improved results on exploration and map quality metrics over competitive methods, and 2) The
effectiveness of our planning module when paired with the stateof-the-art DD-PPO method for the point-goal navigation task.