Learning Navigational Visual Representations with Semantic Map Supervision

ICCV 2023

Publication date: October 6, 2023

Yicong Hong, Yang Zhou, Ruiyi Zhang, Franck Dernoncourt, Trung Bui, Stephen Gould, Hao Tan

Being able to perceive the semantics and the spatial structure of the environment is essential for visual navigation of a household robot. However, most existing works only employ visual backbones pre-trained either with independent images for classification or with self-supervised learning methods to adapt to the indoor navigation domain, both neglecting the spatial relationships that are essential to the learning of navigation. Inspired by the behavior that human naturally build semantically and spatially meaningful cognitive maps in their brain during navigation, in this paper, we propose a novel navigational-specific visual representation learning method by contrasting the agent's egocentric views and semantic maps (Ego^2-Map). We apply the visual transformer as the backbone encoder and train the model with data collected from the large-scale Habitat-Matterport3D environments. Ego^2-Map learning transfers the compact and rich information from a map, such as objects, structure and transition, to the agent's egocentric representations for navigation. Experiments show that agents using our learned representations on object-goal navigation outperforms recent visual pre-training methods. Moreover, our representations lead to a significant improvement in vision-and-language navigation in continuous environments for both high-level and low-level action spaces, achieving new state-of-the-art results of 47% SR and 41% SPL on the test server.