Pre-Trained Image Encoder for Generalizable Visual Reinforcement Learning

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Zhecheng Yuan, Zhengrong Xue, Bo Yuan, Xueqian Wang, YI WU, Yang Gao, Huazhe Xu


Learning generalizable policies that can adapt to unseen environments remains challenging in visual Reinforcement Learning (RL). Existing approaches try to acquire a robust representation via diversifying the appearances of in-domain observations for better generalization. Limited by the specific observations of the environment, these methods ignore the possibility of exploring diverse real-world image datasets. In this paper, we investigate how a visual RL agent would benefit from the off-the-shelf visual representations. Surprisingly, we find that the early layers in an ImageNet pre-trained ResNet model could provide rather generalizable representations for visual RL. Hence, we propose Pre-trained Image Encoder for Generalizable visual reinforcement learning (PIE-G), a simple yet effective framework that can generalize to the unseen visual scenarios in a zero-shot manner. Extensive experiments are conducted on DMControl Generalization Benchmark, DMControl Manipulation Tasks, Drawer World, and CARLA to verify the effectiveness of PIE-G. Empirical evidence suggests PIE-G improves sample efficiency and significantly outperforms previous state-of-the-art methods in terms of generalization performance. In particular, PIE-G boasts a 55% generalization performance gain on average in the challenging video background setting. Project Page: