🦾 Transferring Industrial Robot Assembly Tasks from Simulation to Reality
By lessening the complexity of the hardware architecture, we can significantly increase the capabilities and ways of using the equipment that makes it financially efficient even for low-volume tasks. Moreover, the further development of the solution can be mostly in the software part, which is easier, faster and cheaper than hardware R&D. Having chipset architecture allows us to start using AI algorithms - a huge prospective. To use RL for challenging assembly tasks and address the reality gap, we developed IndustReal. IndustReal is a set of algorithms, systems, and tools for robots to solve assembly tasks in simulation and transfer these capabilities to the real world.
We introduce the simulation-aware policy update (SAPU) that provides the simulated robot with knowledge of when simulation predictions are reliable or unreliable. Specifically, in SAPU, we implement a GPU-based module in NVIDIA Warp that checks for interpenetrations as the robot is learning how to assemble parts using RL.
We introduce a signed distance field (SDF) reward to measure how closely simulated parts are aligned during the assembly process. An SDF is a mathematical function that can take points on one object and compute the shortest distances to the surface of another object. It provides a natural and general way to describe alignment between parts, even when they are highly symmetric or asymmetric.
We also propose a policy-level action integrator (PLAI), a simple algorithm that reduces steady-state (that is, long-term) errors when deploying a learned skill on a real-world robot. We apply the incremental adjustments to the previous instantaneous target pose to produce the new instantaneous target pose. Mathematically (akin to the integral term of a classical PID controller), this strategy generates an instantaneous target pose that is the sum of the initial pose and the actions generated by the robot over time. This technique can minimize errors between the robot’s final pose and its final target pose, even in the presence of physical complexities.