Qualitative modelling of quadcopters that is claimed to be better than reinforcement learning

Šoberl, D., Bratko, I. & Žabkar, Learning to Control a Quadcopter Qualitatively., . J Intell Robot Syst 100, 1097–1110 (2020) DOI: 10.1007/s10846-020-01228-7.

Qualitative modeling allows autonomous agents to learn comprehensible control models, formulated in a way that is close to human intuition. By abstracting away certain numerical information, qualitative models can provide better insights into operating principles of a dynamic system in comparison to traditional numerical models. We show that qualitative models, learned from numerical traces, contain enough information to allow motion planning and path following. We demonstrate our methods on the task of flying a quadcopter. A qualitative control model is learned through motor babbling. Training is significantly faster than training times reported in papers using reinforcement learning with similar quadcopter experiments. A qualitative collision-free trajectory is computed by means of qualitative simulation, and executed reactively while dynamically adapting to numerical characteristics of the system. Experiments have been conducted and assessed in the V-REP robotic simulator.

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