AutoVRL: A High Fidelity Autonomous Ground Vehicle Simulator for Sim-to-Real Deep Reinforcement Learning

by   Shathushan Sivashangaran, et al.

Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) enables cognitive Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV) navigation utilizing raw sensor data without a-priori maps or GPS, which is a necessity in hazardous, information poor environments such as regions where natural disasters occur, and extraterrestrial planets. The substantial training time required to learn an optimal DRL policy, which can be days or weeks for complex tasks, is a major hurdle to real-world implementation in AGV applications. Training entails repeated collisions with the surrounding environment over an extended time period, dependent on the complexity of the task, to reinforce positive exploratory, application specific behavior that is expensive, and time consuming in the real-world. Effectively bridging the simulation to real-world gap is a requisite for successful implementation of DRL in complex AGV applications, enabling learning of cost-effective policies. We present AutoVRL, an open-source high fidelity simulator built upon the Bullet physics engine utilizing OpenAI Gym and Stable Baselines3 in PyTorch to train AGV DRL agents for sim-to-real policy transfer. AutoVRL is equipped with sensor implementations of GPS, IMU, LiDAR and camera, actuators for AGV control, and realistic environments, with extensibility for new environments and AGV models. The simulator provides access to state-of-the-art DRL algorithms, utilizing a python interface for simple algorithm and environment customization, and simulation execution.


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