Researchers at Google have developed a four-legged robot that learned to walk forward and backward, and turn left and right, completely on its own in just a few hours. The team developed a more efficient algorithm that could learn with fewer trials and thus fewer errors; the improved algorithm helped the robot learn to walk within two hours.
In addition, the team trained the robot in a real physical environment from the beginning, rather than starting with simulations as in previous studies. Since the physical environment provided natural variation, the robot quickly adapted to other similar environments.
Jie Tan, who leads the robotics locomotion team at Google Brain, believes cracking locomotion will be key to unlocking more useful robots. "If a robot cannot use legs, they cannot navigate the human world," he said.
From MIT Technology Review
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