Robotic control in a continuous action space has long been a challenging topic. This is especially true when controlling robots to solve compound tasks, as both basic skills and compound skills need to be learned. In this paper, we propose a hierarchical deep reinforcement learning algorithm to learn basic skills and compound skills simultaneously. In the proposed algorithm, compound skills and basic skills are learned by two levels of hierarchy. In the first level of hierarchy, each basic skill is handled by its own actor, overseen by a shared basic critic. Then, in the second level of hierarchy, compound skills are learned by a meta critic by reusing basic skills. The proposed algorithm was evaluated on a Pioneer 3AT robot in three different navigation scenarios with fully observable tasks. The simulations were built in Gazebo 2 in a robot operating system Indigo environment. The results show that the proposed algorithm can learn both high performance basic skills and compound skills through the same learning process. The compound skills learned outperform those learned by a discrete action space deep reinforcement learning algorithm.
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