Long-Horizon Visual Planning with Goal-Conditioned Hierarchical Predictors

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Karl Pertsch, Oleh Rybkin, Frederik Ebert, Shenghao Zhou, Dinesh Jayaraman, Chelsea Finn, Sergey Levine


The ability to predict and plan into the future is fundamental for agents acting in the world. To reach a faraway goal, we predict trajectories at multiple timescales, first devising a coarse plan towards the goal and then gradually filling in details. In contrast, current learning approaches for visual prediction and planning fail on long-horizon tasks as they generate predictions (1)~without considering goal information, and (2)~at the finest temporal resolution, one step at a time. In this work we propose a framework for visual prediction and planning that is able to overcome both of these limitations. First, we formulate the problem of predicting towards a goal and propose the corresponding class of latent space goal-conditioned predictors (GCPs). GCPs significantly improve planning efficiency by constraining the search space to only those trajectories that reach the goal. Further, we show how GCPs can be naturally formulated as hierarchical models that, given two observations, predict an observation between them, and by recursively subdividing each part of the trajectory generate complete sequences. This divide-and-conquer strategy is effective at long-term prediction, and enables us to design an effective hierarchical planning algorithm that optimizes trajectories in a coarse-to-fine manner. We show that by using both goal-conditioning and hierarchical prediction, GCPs enable us to solve visual planning tasks with much longer horizon than previously possible. See prediction and planning videos on the supplementary website: sites.google.com/view/video-gcp.