Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Article Newspaper/Magazine

Policy Transfer via Kinematic Domain Randomization and Adaptation

Transferring reinforcement learning policies trained in physics simulation to the real hardware remains a challenge, known as the "sim-to-real" gap. Domain randomization is a simple yet effective technique to address dynamics discrepancies across source and target domains, but its success generally depends on heuristics and trial-and-error. In this work we investigate the impact of randomized parameter selection on policy transferability across different types of domain discrepancies. Contrary to common practice in which kinematic parameters are carefully measured while dynamic parameters are randomized, we found that virtually randomizing kinematic parameters (e.g., link lengths) during training in simulation generally outperforms dynamic randomization. Based on this finding, we introduce a new domain adaptation algorithm that utilizes simulated kinematic parameters variation. Our algorithm, Multi-Policy Bayesian Optimization, trains an ensemble of universal policies conditioned on virtual kinematic parameters and efficiently adapts to the target environment using a limited number of target domain rollouts. We showcase our findings on a simulated quadruped robot in five different target environments covering different aspects of domain discrepancies.

Paper Code

Ioannis Exarchos
Yifeng Jiang
Wenhao Yu
C. Karen Liu
IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2021
Publication Date
May, 2021