Deep Reinforcement Learning for Haptic Shared Control in Unknown Tasks

Recent years have shown a growing interest in using haptic shared control (HSC) in teleoperated systems. In HSC, the application of virtual guiding forces decreases the user's control effort and improves execution time in various tasks, presenting a good alternative in comparison with direct teleoperation. HSC, despite demonstrating good performance, opens a new gap: how to design the guiding forces. For this reason, the challenge lies in developing controllers to provide the optimal guiding forces for the tasks that are being performed. This work addresses this challenge by designing a controller based on the deep deterministic policy gradient (DDPG) algorithm to provide the assistance, and a convolutional neural network (CNN) to perform the task detection, called TAHSC (Task Agnostic Haptic Shared Controller). The agent learns to minimize the time it takes the human to execute the desired task, while simultaneously minimizing their resistance to the provided feedback. This resistance thus provides the learning algorithm with information about which direction the human is trying to follow, in this case, the pick-and-place task. Diverse results demonstrate the successful application of the proposed approach by learning custom policies for each user who was asked to test the system. It exhibits stable convergence and aids the user in completing the task with the least amount of time possible.


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