Multi-Robot Path Planning for Budgeted Active Perception with Self-Organising Maps

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Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2016, pp. 3164 - 3171
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We propose a self-organising map (SOM) algorithm as a solution to a new multi-goal path planning problem for active perception and data collection tasks. We optimise paths for a multi-robot team that aims to maximally observe a set of nodes in the environment. The selected nodes are observed by visiting associated viewpoint regions defined by a sensor model. The key problem characteristics are that the viewpoint regions are overlapping polygonal continuous regions, each node has an observation reward, and the robots are constrained by travel budgets. The SOM algorithm jointly selects and allocates nodes to the robots and finds favourable sequences of sensing locations. The algorithm has polynomial-bounded runtime independent of the number of robots. We demonstrate feasibility for the active perception task of observing a set of 3D objects. The viewpoint regions consider sensing ranges and selfocclusions, and the rewards are measured as discriminability in the ensemble of shape functions feature space. Simulations were performed using a 3D point cloud dataset from a real robot in a large outdoor environment. Our results show the proposed methods enable multi-robot planning for budgeted active perception tasks with continuous sets of candidate viewpoints and long planning horizons.
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