The Role of Motion Perception in Reinforcement Learning with Dynamic Objects


In dynamic environments, learned controllers are supposed to take motion into account when selecting the action to be taken. However, motion is rarely treated explicitly. Existing reinforcement learning works rather assume that the controller learns the necessary dynamic representation from temporal stacks of frames implicitly. In this paper, we show that for continuous control tasks learning an explicit representation of motion clearly improves the quality of the learned controller in dynamic scenarios. We demonstrate this on common benchmark tasks (Walker, Swimmer, Hopper), on target reaching and ball catching tasks with simulated robotic arms, and on a dynamic single ball juggling task. Moreover, we find that when equipped with an appropriate network architecture, the agent can, on some tasks, learn motion features also with pure reinforcement learning, without additional supervision.