Benjamin VanDerPloeg


DOROTHIE: Spoken Dialogue for Handling Unexpected Situations in Interactive Autonomous Driving Agents
Ziqiao Ma | Benjamin VanDerPloeg | Cristian-Paul Bara | Yidong Huang | Eui-In Kim | Felix Gervits | Matthew Marge | Joyce Chai
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

In the real world, autonomous driving agents navigate in highly dynamic environments full of unexpected situations where pre-trained models are unreliable. In these situations, what is immediately available to vehicles is often only human operators. Empowering autonomous driving agents with the ability to navigate in a continuous and dynamic environment and to communicate with humans through sensorimotor-grounded dialogue becomes critical. To this end, we introduce Dialogue On the ROad To Handle Irregular Events (DOROTHIE), a novel interactive simulation platform that enables the creation of unexpected situations on the fly to support empirical studies on situated communication with autonomous driving agents. Based on this platform, we created the Situated Dialogue Navigation (SDN), a navigation benchmark of 183 trials with a total of 8415 utterances, around 18.7 hours of control streams, and 2.9 hours of trimmed audio. SDN is developed to evaluate the agent’s ability to predict dialogue moves from humans as well as generate its own dialogue moves and physical navigation actions. We further developed a transformer-based baseline model for these SDN tasks. Our empirical results indicate that language guided-navigation in a highly dynamic environment is an extremely difficult task for end-to-end models. These results will provide insight towards future work on robust autonomous driving agents