In this study, we propose a novel use of reinforcement learning for estimating hidden variables and parameters of nonlinear dynamical systems. A critical issue in hidden-state estimation is that we cannot directly observe estimation errors. However, by defining errors of observable variables as a delayed penalty, we can apply a reinforcement learning frame-work to state estimation problems. Specifically, we derive a method to construct a nonlinear state estimator by finding an appropriate feedback input gain using the policy gradient method. We tested the proposed method on single pendulum dynamics and show that the joint angle variable could be successfully estimated by observing only the angular velocity, and vice versa. In addition, we show that we could acquire a state estimator for the pendulum swing-up task in which a swing-up controller is also acquired by reinforcement learning simultaneously. Furthermore, we demonstrate that it is possible to estimate the dynamics of the pendulum itself while the hidden variables are estimated in the pendulum swing-up task. Application of the proposed method to a two-linked biped model is also presented.

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