VORRT-COLREGs: A Hybrid Velocity Obstacles and RRT Based COLREGs-Compliant Path Planner for Autonomous Surface Vessels

by   Rahul Dubey, et al.
University of Nevada, Reno

This paper presents VORRT-COLREGs, a hybrid technique that combines velocity obstacles (VO) and rapidly-exploring random trees (RRT) to generate safe trajectories for autonomous surface vessels (ASVs) while following nautical rules of the road. RRT generates a set of way points and the velocity obstacles method ensures safe travel between way points. We also ensure that the actions of ASVs do not violate maritime collision guidelines. Earlier work has used RRT and VO separately to generate paths for ASVs. However, RRT does not handle highly dynamic situations well and and VO seems most suitable as a local path planner. Combining both approaches, VORRT-COLREGs is a global path planner that uses a joint forward simulation to ensure that generated paths remain valid and collision free as the situation changes. Experiments were conducted in different types of collision scenarios and with different numbers of ASVs. Results show that VORRT-COLREGS generated collision regulations (COLREGs) complaint paths in open ocean scenarios. Furthermore, VORRT-COLREGS successfully generated compliant paths within traffic separation schemes. These results show the applicability of our technique for generating paths for ASVs in different collision scenarios. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work that combines velocity obstacles and RRT to produce safe and COLREGs complaint path for ASVs.


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