Robotic learning stands at the forefront of today’s technological pursuits. With the robotics industry currently dominated by specialized robots designed for specific tasks, the journey to creating "general purpose" robots remains a challenge. The solution? DeepMind believes it lies in collective robotic learning.
While individual research labs, startups, and corporations are making strides, the magnitude of the challenge means a collaborative approach is vital. The transition from single-purpose to multipurpose, and eventually to general-purpose robots, requires vast, shared datasets.
Understanding this, Google's DeepMind, in partnership with 33 research institutes, introduced a colossal shared database—Open X-Embodiment. This initiative is reminiscent of ImageNet, a pivotal database in computer vision, containing over 14 million images. With Open X-Embodiment, DeepMind seeks to be the catalyst for robotics, similar to what ImageNet achieved for computer vision.
Quan Vuong and Pannag Sanketi, the lead researchers at DeepMind, emphasized the significance of this database, stating, “Building a dataset of diverse robot demonstrations is the key step to training a generalist model that can control many different types of robots, follow diverse instructions, perform basic reasoning about complex tasks and generalize effectively.”
Such an extensive database, featuring over 500 skills and 150,000 tasks across 22 robot types, cannot be the undertaking of a single institution. Reflecting this collaborative spirit, the "Open" in Open X-Embodiment signifies the team's intent to make the data available to the global research community.
By open-sourcing this data and offering limited models, DeepMind aims to dissolve barriers and fast-track research advancements. As they insightfully pointed out, "The future of robotics relies on enabling robots to learn from each other, and most importantly, allowing researchers to learn from one another.”
In essence, Open X-Embodiment might just be the monumental leap the world needs to see the dawn of general-purpose robots—a future where robots learn, evolve, and adapt seamlessly.