Multi-Robot Path Planning Combining Heuristics and Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

by   Shaoming Peng, et al.

Multi-robot path finding in dynamic environments is a highly challenging classic problem. In the movement process, robots need to avoid collisions with other moving robots while minimizing their travel distance. Previous methods for this problem either continuously replan paths using heuristic search methods to avoid conflicts or choose appropriate collision avoidance strategies based on learning approaches. The former may result in long travel distances due to frequent replanning, while the latter may have low learning efficiency due to low sample exploration and utilization, and causing high training costs for the model. To address these issues, we propose a path planning method, MAPPOHR, which combines heuristic search, empirical rules, and multi-agent reinforcement learning. The method consists of two layers: a real-time planner based on the multi-agent reinforcement learning algorithm, MAPPO, which embeds empirical rules in the action output layer and reward functions, and a heuristic search planner used to create a global guiding path. During movement, the heuristic search planner replans new paths based on the instructions of the real-time planner. We tested our method in 10 different conflict scenarios. The experiments show that the planning performance of MAPPOHR is better than that of existing learning and heuristic methods. Due to the utilization of empirical knowledge and heuristic search, the learning efficiency of MAPPOHR is higher than that of existing learning methods.


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