Robust Object Recognition Through Symbiotic Deep Learning In Mobile Robots

Despite the recent success of state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms in object recognition, when these are deployed as-is on a mobile service robot, we observed that they failed to recognize many objects in real human environments. In this paper, we introduce a learning algorithm in which robots address this flaw by asking humans for help, also known as a symbiotic autonomy approach. In particular, we bootstrap YOLOv2, a state-of-the-art deep neural network and train a new neural network, that we call HHELP, using only data collected from human help. Using an RGB camera and an on-board tablet, the robot proactively seeks human input to assist it in labeling surrounding objects. Pepper, located at CMU, and Monarch Mbot, located at ISR-Lisbon, were the service robots that we used to validate the proposed approach. We conducted a study in a realistic domestic environment over the course of 20 days with 6 research participants. To improve object detection, we used the two neural networks, YOLOv2 + HHELP, in parallel. Following this methodology, the robot was able to detect twice the number of objects compared to the initial YOLOv2 neural network, and achieved a higher mAP (mean Average Precision) score. Using the learning algorithm the robot also collected data about where an object was located and to whom it belonged to by asking humans. This enabled us to explore a future use case where robots can search for a specific person’s object. We view the contribution of this work to be relevant for service robots in general, in addition to Pepper, and Mbot.

João Cartucho

João Cartucho, a IST alumni at ISR, former MSc student co-supervised by Manuela Veloso and Rodrigo Ventura, was finalist to the Best Paper Award at the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2018).ISR