Search-based Planning for Active Sensing in Goal-Directed Coverage Tasks

11/14/2020 ∙ by Tushar Kusnur, et al. ∙ 0

Path planning for robotic coverage is the task of determining a collision-free robot trajectory that observes all points of interest in an environment. Robots employed for such tasks are often capable of exercising active control over onboard observational sensors during navigation. In this paper, we tackle the problem of planning robot and sensor trajectories that maximize information gain in such tasks where the robot needs to cover points of interest with its sensor footprint. Search-based planners in general guarantee completeness and provable bounds on suboptimality with respect to an underlying graph discretization. However, searching for kinodynamically feasible paths in the joint space of robot and sensor state variables with standard search is computationally expensive. We propose two alternative search-based approaches to this problem. The first solves for robot and sensor trajectories independently in decoupled state spaces while maintaining a history of sensor headings during the search. The second is a two-step approach that first quickly computes a solution in decoupled state spaces and then refines it by searching its local neighborhood in the joint space for a better solution. We evaluate our approaches in simulation with a kinodynamically constrained unmanned aerial vehicle performing coverage over a 2D environment and show their benefits.

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