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  1. We consider the problem of time-limited robotic exploration in previously unseen environments where exploration is limited by a predefined amount of time. We propose a novel exploration approach using learning-augmented model-based planning. We generate a set of sub goals associated with frontiers on the current map and derive a Bellman Equation for exploration with these subgoals. Visual sensing and advances in semantic mapping of indoor scenes are exploited for training a deep convolutional neural network to estimate properties associated with each frontier: the expected unobserved area beyond the frontier and the expected time steps (discretized actions) required to explore it. The proposed model-based planner is guaranteed to explore the whole scene if time permits. We thoroughly evaluate our approach on a large-scale pseudo-realistic indoor dataset (Matterport3D) with the Habitat simulator. We compare our approach with classical and more recent RL-based exploration methods. Our approach surpasses the greedy strategies by 2.1% and the RL-based exploration methods by 8.4% in terms of coverage. 
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  2. This work proposes a novel pose estimation model for object categories that can be effectively transferred to pre-viously unseen environments. The deep convolutional network models (CNN) for pose estimation are typically trained and evaluated on datasets specifically curated for object detection, pose estimation, or 3D reconstruction, which requires large amounts of training data. In this work, we propose a model for pose estimation that can be trained with small amount of data and is built on the top of generic mid-level represen-tations [33] (e.g. surface normal estimation and re-shading). These representations are trained on a large dataset without requiring pose and object annotations. Later on, the predictions are refined with a small CNN neural network that exploits object masks and silhouette retrieval. The presented approach achieves superior performance on the Pix3D dataset [26] and shows nearly 35 % improvement over the existing models when only 25 % of the training data is available. We show that the approach is favorable when it comes to generalization and transfer to novel environments. Towards this end, we introduce a new pose estimation benchmark for commonly encountered furniture categories on challenging Active Vision Dataset [1] and evaluated the models trained on the Pix3D dataset. 
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  3. Recent efforts in deploying Deep Neural Networks for object detection in real world applications, such as autonomous driving, assume that all relevant object classes have been observed during training. Quantifying the performance of these models in settings when the test data is not represented in the training set has mostly focused on pixel-level uncertainty estimation techniques of models trained for semantic segmentation. This paper proposes to exploit additional predictions of semantic segmentation models and quantifying its confidences, followed by classification of object hypotheses as known vs. unknown, out of distribution objects. We use object proposals generated by Region Proposal Network (RPN) and adapt distance aware uncertainty estimation of semantic segmentation using Radial Basis Functions Networks (RBFN) for class agnostic object mask prediction. The augmented object proposals are then used to train a classifier for known vs. unknown objects categories. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method achieves parallel performance to state of the art methods for unknown object detection and can also be used effectively for reducing object detectors' false positive rate. Our method is well suited for applications where prediction of non-object background categories obtained by semantic segmentation is reliable. 
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  4. The advances in deep reinforcement learning re- cently revived interest in data-driven learning based approaches to navigation. In this paper we propose to learn viewpoint invariant and target invariant visual servoing for local mobile robot navigation; given an initial view and the goal view or an image of a target, we train deep convolutional network controller to reach the desired goal. We present a new architecture for this task which rests on the ability of establishing correspondences between the initial and goal view and novel reward structure motivated by the traditional feedback control error. The advantage of the proposed model is that it does not require calibration and depth information and achieves robust visual servoing in a variety of environments and targets without any parameter fine tuning. We present comprehensive evaluation of the approach and comparison with other deep learning architectures as well as classical visual servoing methods in visually realistic simulation environment [1]. The presented model overcomes the brittleness of classical visual servoing based methods and achieves significantly higher generalization capability compared to the previous learning approaches. 
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