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High performance and compliant robot control requires accurate dynamics models which cannot be obtained analytically for sufficiently complex robot systems. In such cases, machine learning offers a promising alternative for approximating the robot dynamics using measured data. This approach offers a natural framework to incorporate unknown nonlinearities as well as to continually adapt online for changes in the robot dynamics. However, the most accurate regression methods, e.g. Gaussian processes regression (GPR) and support vector regression (SVR), suffer from exceptional high computational complexity which prevents their usage for large numbers of samples or online learning to date. Inspired by locally linear regression techniques, we propose an approximation to the standard GPR using local Gaussian processes models inspired by. Due to reduced computational cost, local Gaussian processes (LGP) can be applied for larger sample-sizes and online learning. Comparisons with other nonparametric regressions, e.g. standard GPR, nu-SVR and locally weighted projection regression (LWPR), show that LGP has higher accuracy than LWPR and close to the performance of standard GPR and nu-SVR while being sufficiently fast for online learning.
Date of Conference: 22-26 Sept. 2008