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Auto-Navigator: Decoupled Neural Architecture Search for Visual Navigation
Existing visual navigation approaches leverage classification neural networks to extract global features from visual data for navigation. However, these networks are not originally designed for navigation tasks. Thus, the neural architectures might not be suitable to capture scene contents. Fortunately, neural architecture search (NAS) brings a hope to solve this problem. In this paper, we propose an Auto-Navigator to customize a specialized network for visual navigation. However, as navigation tasks mainly rely on reinforcement learning (RL) rewards in training, such weak supervision is insufficiently indicative for NAS to optimize visual perception network. Thus, we introduce imitation learning (IL) with optimal paths to optimize navigation policies while selecting an optimal architecture. As Auto-Navigator can obtain a direct supervision in every step, such guidance greatly facilitates architecture search. In particular, we initialize our Auto-Navigator with a learnable distribution over the search space of visual perception architecture, and then optimize the distribution with IL supervision. Afterwards, we employ an RL reward function to fine-tune our Auto-Navigator to improve the generalization ability of our model. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our Auto-Navigator outperforms baseline methods on Gibson and Matterport3D without significantly increasing network parameters.