A multiobjective optimization approach for COLREGs-Compliant path planning of autonomous surface vehicles verified on networked bridge simulators

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Abstract

This paper presents a multiobjective optimization approach for path planning of autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs). A unique feature of the technique is the unification of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) with good seamanship's practice along with hierarchical (rather than simultaneous) inclusion of objectives. The requirements of collision avoidance are formulated as mathematical inequalities and constraints in the optimization framework and thus collision-free manoeuvres and COLREGs-compliant behaviours are provided in a seafarer-like way. Specific expert knowledge is also taken into account when designing the multiobjective optimization algorithm. For example, good seamanship reveals that if allowed, an evasive manoeuvre with course changes is always preferred over one with speed changes in practical maritime navigation. As a result, a hierarchical sorting rule is designed to prioritize the objective of course/speed change preference over other objectives such as path length and path smoothness, and then incorporated into a specific evolutionary algorithm called hierarchical multiobjective particle swarm optimization (H-MOPSO) algorithm. The H-MOPSO algorithm solves the real-time path planning problem through finding solutions of the formulated optimization problem. The effectiveness of the proposed H-MOPSO algorithm is demonstrated through both desktop and high-fidelity networked bridge simulations.

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Hu, L., Naeem, W., Rajabally, E., Watson, G., Mills, T., Bhuiyan, Z., … Pekcan, C. (2020). A multiobjective optimization approach for COLREGs-Compliant path planning of autonomous surface vehicles verified on networked bridge simulators. IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 21(3), 1167–1179. https://doi.org/10.1109/TITS.2019.2902927

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