Solving Vehicle Routing Problem for unmanned heterogeneous vehicle systems using Asynchronous Multi-Agent Architecture (A-teams)

by   Subramanian Ramasamy, et al.
University of Illinois at Chicago

Fast moving but power hungry unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can recharge on slow-moving unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to survey large areas in an effective and efficient manner. In order to solve this computationally challenging problem in a reasonable time, we created a two-level optimization heuristics. At the outer level, the UGV route is parameterized by few free parameters and at the inner level, the UAV route is solved by formulating and solving a vehicle routing problem with capacity constraints, time windows, and dropped visits. The UGV free parameters need to be optimized judiciously in order to create high quality solutions. We explore two methods for tuning the free UGV parameters: (1) a genetic algorithm, and (2) Asynchronous Multi-agent architecture (Ateams). The A-teams uses multiple agents to create, improve, and destroy solutions. The parallel asynchronous architecture enables A-teams to quickly optimize the parameters. Our results on test cases show that the A-teams produces similar solutions as genetic algorithm but with a speed up of 2-3 times.


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