Experimental comparisons of observational learning mechanisms for movement imitation in mobile robots
Research into robotic social learning, especially that concerned with imitation, often focuses at differing ends of a spectrum from observational learning at one end to following or matched-dependent behaviour at the other. We study the implications and differences that arise when carrying out experiments both at the extremes and within this spectrum. Physical Khepera robots with minimal sensory capabilities are used, and after training, experiments are carried out where an imitating robot perceives the dynamic movement behaviours of another model robot carrying a light source. It learns the movement behaviour of the model by either statically observing the model, dynamically observing the model or by following the model. It ﬁnally re-enacts the learnt behaviour. We compare the results of these re-enactments and illustrate the differences and trade-offs that arise between static observational and reactive following learning methods. We also consider circumstances where, for this robotic embodiment, dynamic observation has both advantages and disadvantages when compared to static observation. We conclude by discussing the implications that arise from using and combining these types of social learning.
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