PanoGen: Text-Conditioned Panoramic Environment Generation for Vision-and-Language Navigation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Jialu Li, Mohit Bansal


Vision-and-Language Navigation requires the agent to follow language instructions to navigate through 3D environments. One main challenge in Vision-and-Language Navigation is the limited availability of photorealistic training environments, which makes it hard to generalize to new and unseen environments. To address this problem, we propose PanoGen, a generation method that can potentially create an infinite number of diverse panoramic environments conditioned on text. Specifically, we collect room descriptions by captioning the room images in existing Matterport3D environments, and leverage a state-of-the-art text-to-image diffusion model to generate the new panoramic environments. We use recursive outpainting over the generated images to create consistent 360-degree panorama views. Our new panoramic environments share similar semantic information with the original environments by conditioning on text descriptions, which ensures the co-occurrence of objects in the panorama follows human intuition, and creates enough diversity in room appearance and layout with image outpainting. Lastly, we explore two ways of utilizing PanoGen in VLN pre-training and fine-tuning. We generate instructions for paths in our PanoGen environments with a speaker built on a pre-trained vision-and-language model for VLN pre-training, and augment the visual observation with our panoramic environments during agents' fine-tuning to avoid overfitting to seen environments. Empirically, learning with our PanoGen environments achieves the new state-of-the-art on the Room-to-Room, Room-for-Room, and CVDN datasets. Besides, we find that pre-training with our PanoGen speaker data is especially effective for CVDN, which has under-specified instructions and needs commonsense knowledge to reach the target. Lastly, we show that the agent can benefit from training with more generated panoramic environments, suggesting promising results for scaling up the PanoGen environments to enhance agents' generalization to unseen environments.