Abstract: We propose a novel robotic system that can improve its semantic perception during deployment. Contrary to the established approach of learning semantics from large datasets and deploying fixed models, we propose a framework in which semantic models are continuously updated on the robot to adapt to the deployment environments. Our system therefore tightly couples multi-sensor perception and localisation to continuously learn from self-supervised pseudo labels. We study this system in the context of a construction robot registering LiDAR scans of cluttered environments against building models. Our experiments show how the robot's semantic perception improves during deployment and how this translates into improved 3D localisation by filtering the clutter out of the LiDAR scan, even across drastically different environments. We further study the risk of catastrophic forgetting that such a continuous learning setting poses. We find memory replay an effective measure to reduce forgetting and show how the robotic system can improve even when switching between different environments. On average, our system improves by 60% in segmentation and 10% in localisation compared to deployment of a fixed model, and it keeps this improvement up while adapting to further environments.
Authors: Hermann Blum, Francesco Milano, René Zurbrügg, Roland Siegward, Cesar Cadena, Abel Gawel (ETH Zurich)