Collaborating Authors

A Data-Driven Approach for Autonomous Motion Planning and Control in Off-Road Driving Scenarios Artificial Intelligence

This paper presents a novel data-driven approach to vehicle motion planning and control in off-road driving scenarios. For autonomous off-road driving, environmental conditions impact terrain traversability as a function of weather, surface composition, and slope. Geographical information system (GIS) and National Centers for Environmental Information datasets are processed to provide this information for interactive planning and control system elements. A top-level global route planner (GRP) defines optimal waypoints using dynamic programming (DP). A local path planner (LPP) computes a desired trajectory between waypoints such that infeasible control states and collisions with obstacles are avoided. The LPP also updates the GRP with real-time sensing and control data. A low-level feedback controller applies feedback linearization to asymptotically track the specified LPP trajectory. Autonomous driving simulation results are presented for traversal of terrains in Oregon and Indiana case studies.

3D Multi-Robot Patrolling with a Two-Level Coordination Strategy Artificial Intelligence

Teams of UGVs patrolling harsh and complex 3D environments can experience interference and spatial conflicts with one another. Neglecting the occurrence of these events crucially hinders both soundness and reliability of a patrolling process. This work presents a distributed multi-robot patrolling technique, which uses a two-level coordination strategy to minimize and explicitly manage the occurrence of conflicts and interference. The first level guides the agents to single out exclusive target nodes on a topological map. This target selection relies on a shared idleness representation and a coordination mechanism preventing topological conflicts. The second level hosts coordination strategies based on a metric representation of space and is supported by a 3D SLAM system. Here, each robot path planner negotiates spatial conflicts by applying a multi-robot traversability function. Continuous interactions between these two levels ensure coordination and conflicts resolution. Both simulations and real-world experiments are presented to validate the performances of the proposed patrolling strategy in 3D environments. Results show this is a promising solution for managing spatial conflicts and preventing deadlocks.

Autonomous Off-road Navigation over Extreme Terrains with Perceptually-challenging Conditions Artificial Intelligence

We propose a framework for resilient autonomous navigation in perceptually challenging unknown environments with mobility-stressing elements such as uneven surfaces with rocks and boulders, steep slopes, negative obstacles like cliffs and holes, and narrow passages. Environments are GPS-denied and perceptually-degraded with variable lighting from dark to lit and obscurants (dust, fog, smoke). Lack of prior maps and degraded communication eliminates the possibility of prior or off-board computation or operator intervention. This necessitates real-time on-board computation using noisy sensor data. To address these challenges, we propose a resilient architecture that exploits redundancy and heterogeneity in sensing modalities. Further resilience is achieved by triggering recovery behaviors upon failure. We propose a fast settling algorithm to generate robust multi-fidelity traversability estimates in real-time. The proposed approach was deployed on multiple physical systems including skid-steer and tracked robots, a high-speed RC car and legged robots, as a part of Team CoSTAR's effort to the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, where the team won 2nd and 1st place in the Tunnel and Urban Circuits, respectively.

Planning Graphs for Efficient Generation of Desirable Narrative Trajectories

AAAI Conferences

A goal of Experience Managers (EM) is to guide users through a space of narrative trajectories, or story branches, in an Interactive Narrative (IN). When a user performs an action that deviates from the intended trajectory, the EM uses a mediation strategy called accommodation to transition the user to a new desirable trajectory. However, generating the trajectory options then selecting the appropriate one is computationally expensive and at odds with the low-latency needs of an IN. We define three desirable properties (exemplar trajectories, narrative-theoretic comparison, and efficiency) that general solutions would possess and demonstrate how our plan-based Intention Dependency Graph addresses them.

Safe Trajectory Planning Using Reinforcement Learning for Self Driving Artificial Intelligence

Self-driving vehicles must be able to act intelligently in diverse and difficult environments, marked by high-dimensional state spaces, a myriad of optimization objectives and complex behaviors. Traditionally, classical optimization and search techniques have been applied to the problem of self-driving; but they do not fully address operations in environments with high-dimensional states and complex behaviors. Recently, imitation learning has been proposed for the task of self-driving; but it is labor-intensive to obtain enough training data. Reinforcement learning has been proposed as a way to directly control the car, but this has safety and comfort concerns. We propose using model-free reinforcement learning for the trajectory planning stage of self-driving and show that this approach allows us to operate the car in a more safe, general and comfortable manner, required for the task of self driving.