Instance-Level Semantic Maps for Vision Language Navigation

Laksh Nanwani, Anmol Agarwal, Kanishk Jain, Raghav Prabhakar, Aaron Monis, Aditya Mathur, Krishna Murthy, Abdul Hafez, Vineet Gandhi, K. Madhava Krishna

Humans have a natural ability to perform semantic associations with the surrounding objects in the environment. This allows them to create a mental map of the environment which helps them to navigate on-demand when given a linguistic instruction. A natural goal in Vision Language Navigation (VLN) research is to impart autonomous agents with similar capabilities. Recently introduced VL Maps \cite{huang23vlmaps} take a step towards this goal by creating a semantic spatial map representation of the environment without any labelled data. However, their representations are limited for practical applicability as they do not distinguish between different instances of the same object. In this work, we address this limitation by integrating instance-level information into spatial map representation using a community detection algorithm and by utilizing word ontology learned by large language models (LLMs) to perform open-set semantic associations in the mapping representation. The resulting map representation improves the navigation performance by two-fold (233\%) on realistic language commands with instance-specific descriptions compared to VL Maps. We validate the practicality and effectiveness of our approach through extensive qualitative and quantitative experiments.

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