Hierarchical RL with diverse methods integrated in the framework

Ye Zhou, Hann Woei Ho, Online robot guidance and navigation in non-stationary environment with hybrid Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning, Engineering Applications of Artificial Intelligence, Volume 114, 2022 DOI: 10.1016/j.engappai.2022.105152.

Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning (HRL) provides an option to solve complex guidance and navigation problems with high-dimensional spaces, multiple objectives, and a large number of states and actions. The current HRL methods often use the same or similar reinforcement learning methods within one application so that multiple objectives can be easily combined. Since there is not a single learning method that can benefit all targets, hybrid Hierarchical Reinforcement Learning (hHRL) was proposed to use various methods to optimize the learning with different types of information and objectives in one application. The previous hHRL method, however, requires manual task-specific designs, which involves engineers\u2019 preferences and may impede its transfer learning ability. This paper, therefore, proposes a systematic online guidance and navigation method under the framework of hHRL, which generalizes training samples with a function approximator, decomposes the state space automatically, and thus does not require task-specific designs. The simulation results indicate that the proposed method is superior to the previous hHRL method, which requires manual decomposition, in terms of the convergence rate and the learnt policy. It is also shown that this method is generally applicable to non-stationary environments changing over episodes and over time without the loss of efficiency even with noisy state information.

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