Survey of Model-Based Reinforcement Learning: Applications on Robotics


Reinforcement learning is an appealing approach for allowing robots to learn new tasks. Relevant literature reveals a plethora of methods, but at the same time makes clear the lack of implementations for dealing with real life challenges. Current expectations raise the demand for adaptable robots. We argue that, by employing model-based reinforcement learning, the—now limited—adaptability characteristics of robotic systems can be expanded. Also, model-based reinforcement learning exhibits advantages that makes it more applicable to real life use-cases compared to model-free methods. Thus, in this survey, model-based methods that have been applied in robotics are covered. We categorize them based on the derivation of an optimal policy, the definition of the returns function, the type of the transition model and the learned task. Finally, we discuss the applicability of model-based reinforcement learning approaches in new applications, taking into consideration the state of the art in both algorithms and hardware.

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  title = {Survey of Model-Based Reinforcement Learning: Applications on Robotics},
  author = {Polydoros, Athanasios S and Nalpantidis, Lazaros},
  journal = {Journal of Intelligent \& Robotic Systems},
  pdflink1 = {},
  volume = {86},
  number = {2},
  pages = {153--173},
  year = {2017},
  publisher = {Springer Netherlands},
  public = {yes}