Path Clearance

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aerospace robotics
military vehicles
mobile robots
path planning
remotely operated vehicles
military scenarios
path clearance problem
probabilistic planning with clear preferences
scouting unmanned aerial vehicles
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Stentz, Anthony

In military scenarios, agents (i.e., troops of soldiers, convoys, and unmanned vehicles) may often have to traverse environments with only a limited intelligence about the locations of adversaries. We study a particular instance of this problem that we refer to as path clearance problem.This article presents a survey of our work on scalable and suitable for real-time use approaches to solving the path clearance problem. In particular, in the first part of the article, we show that the path clearance problem exhibits clear preferences on uncertainty. It turns out that these clear preferences can be used to develop an efficient algorithm called probabilistic planning with clear preferences (PPCP). The algorithm is anytime usable, converges to an optimal solution under certain conditions, and scales well to large-scale problems. We briefly describe the PPCP algorithm and show how it can be used to solve the path clearance problem when no scouts are present. In the second part of the article, we show several strategies for how to use the PPCP algorithm in case multiple scouting unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are available. The experimental analysis shows that planning with PPCP results in a substantially smaller execution cost than when ignoring uncertainty, and employing scouts can decrease this execution cost even further.

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Copyright 2009 IEEE. Reprinted from: Likhachev, M.; Stentz, A., "Path Clearance," Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE , vol.16, no.2, pp.62-72, June 2009 URL: This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.
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