Autonomous robots that can assist humans in situations of daily life have been a long standing vision of robotics, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. A first step towards this goal is to create robots that can learn tasks triggered by visual stimuli from higher level instruction. However, learning techniques have yet to live up to this promise as only few methods manage to scale to high-dimensional manipulator or humanoid robots. In this talk, we investigate a general framework suitable for learning motor skills in robotics including both manipulation of static and dynamic objects that are perceived using vision. The resulting approach relies on a representation of motor skills by parameterized motor primitive policies acting as building blocks of movement generation, and a learned task execution module that transforms these movements into motor commands. We discuss task-appropriate learning approaches for imitation learning, model learning and reinforcement learning for robots with many degrees of freedom that perceive the manipulated objects using robot vision. Empirical evaluations on a several robot systems illustrate the effectiveness and applicability to learning control on an anthropomorphic robot arm. These robot motor skills range from basic visuo-motor skills to playing robot table tennis against a human being and manipulation of various objects.
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