Efficient UAV Trajectory-Planning using Economic Reinforcement Learning

03/03/2021 ∙ by Alvi Ataur Khalil, et al. ∙ 0

Advances in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) design have opened up applications as varied as surveillance, firefighting, cellular networks, and delivery applications. Additionally, due to decreases in cost, systems employing fleets of UAVs have become popular. The uniqueness of UAVs in systems creates a novel set of trajectory or path planning and coordination problems. Environments include many more points of interest (POIs) than UAVs, with obstacles and no-fly zones. We introduce REPlanner, a novel multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithm inspired by economic transactions to distribute tasks between UAVs. This system revolves around an economic theory, in particular an auction mechanism where UAVs trade assigned POIs. We formulate the path planning problem as a multi-agent economic game, where agents can cooperate and compete for resources. We then translate the problem into a Partially Observable Markov decision process (POMDP), which is solved using a reinforcement learning (RL) model deployed on each agent. As the system computes task distributions via UAV cooperation, it is highly resilient to any change in the swarm size. Our proposed network and economic game architecture can effectively coordinate the swarm as an emergent phenomenon while maintaining the swarm's operation. Evaluation results prove that REPlanner efficiently outperforms conventional RL-based trajectory search.



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