AAAI 2023
Actional Atomic-Concept Learning for Demystifying Vision-Language Navigation.
Bingqian Lin, Yi Zhu, Xiaodan Liang, Liang Lin, Jianzhuang Liu
AAAI 2023


Vision-Language Navigation (VLN) is a challenging task which requires an agent to align complex visual observations to language instructions to reach the goal position. Most existing VLN agents directly learn to align the raw directional features and visual features trained using one-hot labels to linguistic instruction features. However, the big semantic gap among these multi-modal inputs makes the alignment difficult and therefore limits the navigation performance. In this paper, we propose Actional Atomic-Concept Learning (AACL), which maps visual observations to actional atomic concepts for facilitating the alignment. Specifically, an actional atomic concept is a natural language phrase containing an atomic action and an object, e.g., ``go up stairs''. These actional atomic concepts, which serve as the bridge between observations and instructions, can effectively mitigate the semantic gap and simplify the alignment. AACL contains three core components: 1) a concept mapping module to map the observations to the actional atomic concept representations through the VLN environment and the recently proposed Contrastive Language-Image Pretraining (CLIP) model, 2) a concept refining adapter to encourage more instruction-oriented object concept extraction by re-ranking the predicted object concepts by CLIP, and 3) an observation co-embedding module which utilizes concept representations to regularize the observation representations. Our AACL establishes new state-of-the-art results on both fine-grained (R2R) and high-level (REVERIE and R2R-Last) VLN benchmarks. Moreover, the visualization shows that AACL significantly improves the interpretability in action decision. Code will be available at









In this work, we propose Actional Atomic-Concept Learning, which helps VLN agents demystify the alignment in VLN tasks through actional atomic concepts formed by language. During navigation, each visual observation is mapped to the specific actional atomic concept through the VLN environment and CLIP. A concept refining adapter is constructed to enable the instruction-oriented concept extraction. An observation co-embedding module is introduced to use concept features to regularize observation features. Experiments on public VLN benchmarks show that AACL achieves new SOTA results. Benefiting from these human-understandable actional atomic concepts, AACL shows excellent interpretability in making action decision.