Towards Direct Policy Search Reinforcement Learning for Robot Control

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This paper proposes a high-level reinforcement learning (RL) control system for solving the action selection problem of an autonomous robot. Although the dominant approach, when using RL, has been to apply value function based algorithms, the system here detailed is characterized by the use of direct policy search methods. Rather than approximating a value function, these methodologies approximate a policy using an independent function approximator with its own parameters, trying to maximize the future expected reward. The policy based algorithm presented in this paper is used for learning the internal state/action mapping of a behavior. In this preliminary work, we demonstrate its feasibility with simulated experiments using the underwater robot GARBI in a target reaching task ​
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