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A Resource Allocation Algorithm for Multivehicle Systems With Nonholonomic Constraints

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3 Author(s)
Sivakumar Rathinam ; Dept. of Civil Eng., California Univ., Berkeley, CA ; Raja Sengupta ; Swaroop Darbha

This paper is about the allocation of tours of m targets to n vehicles. The motion of the vehicles satisfies a nonholonomic constraint (i.e., the yaw rate of the vehicle is bounded). Each target is to be visited by one and only one vehicle. Given a set of targets and the yaw rate constraints on the vehicles, the problem addressed in this paper is 1) to assign each vehicle a sequence of targets to visit, and 2) to find a feasible path for each vehicle that passes through the assigned targets with a requirement that the vehicle returns to its initial position. The heading angle at each target location may not be specified. The objective function is to minimize the sum of the distances traveled by all vehicles. A constant factor approximation algorithm is presented for the above resource allocation problem for both the single and the multiple vehicle case. Note to Practitioners-The motivation for this paper stems from the need to develop resource allocation algorithms for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Small autonomous UAVs are seen as ideal platforms for many applications, such as searching for targets, mapping a given area, traffic surveillance, fire monitoring, etc. The main advantage of using these small autonomous vehicles is that they can be used in situations where a manned mission is dangerous or not possible. Resource allocation problems naturally arise in these applications where one would want to optimally assign a given set of vehicles to the tasks at hand. The feature that differentiates these resource allocation problems from similar problems previously studied in the literature is that there are constraints on the motion of the vehicle. This paper addresses the constraint that captures the inability of a fixed wing aircraft to turn at any arbitrary yaw rate. The basic problem addressed in this paper is as follows: Given n vehicles and m targets, find a path for each vehicle satisfying yaw rate contraints such that each target is visited exactly once by- a vehicle and the total distance traveled by all vehicles is minimized. We assume that the targets are at least 2r apart, where r is the minimum turning radius of the vehicle. This is a reasonable assumption because the sensors on these vehicles can map or see an area whose width is at least 2r. We give an algorithm to solve this problem by combining ideas from the traveling salesman problem and the path planning literature. We also show how these algorithms perform in the worst-case scenario

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 1 )