Multi-Agent Area Coverage Control Using Reinforcement Learning Techniques

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Title: Multi-Agent Area Coverage Control Using Reinforcement Learning Techniques
Authors: Adepegba, Adekunle Akinpelu
Date: 2016
Abstract: An area coverage control law in cooperation with reinforcement learning techniques is proposed for deploying multiple autonomous agents in a two-dimensional planar area. A scalar field characterizes the risk density in the area to be covered yielding nonuniform distribution of agents while providing optimal coverage. This problem has traditionally been addressed in the literature to date using locational optimization and gradient descent techniques, as well as proportional and proportional-derivative controllers. In most cases, agents' actuator energy required to drive them in optimal configurations in the workspace is not considered. Here the maximum coverage is achieved with minimum actuator energy required by each agent. Similar to existing coverage control techniques, the proposed algorithm takes into consideration time-varying risk density. These density functions represent the probability of an event occurring (e.g., the presence of an intruding target) at a certain location or point in the workspace indicating where the agents should be located. To this end, a coverage control algorithm using reinforcement learning that moves the team of mobile agents so as to provide optimal coverage given the density functions as they evolve over time is being proposed. Area coverage is modeled using Centroidal Voronoi Tessellation (CVT) governed by agents. Based on [1,2] and [3], the application of Centroidal Voronoi tessellation is extended to a dynamic changing harbour-like environment. The proposed multi-agent area coverage control law in conjunction with reinforcement learning techniques is implemented in a distributed manner whereby the multi-agent team only need to access information from adjacent agents while simultaneously providing dynamic target surveillance for single and multiple targets and feedback control of the environment. This distributed approach describes how automatic flocking behaviour of a team of mobile agents can be achieved by leveraging the geometrical properties of centroidal Voronoi tessellation in area coverage control while enabling multiple targets tracking without the need of consensus between individual agents. Agent deployment using a time-varying density model is being introduced which is a function of the position of some unknown targets in the environment. A nonlinear derivative of the error coverage function is formulated based on the single-integrator agent dynamics. The agent, aware of its local coverage control condition, learns a value function online while leveraging the same from its neighbours. Moreover, a novel computational adaptive optimal control methodology based on work by [4] is proposed that employs the approximate dynamic programming technique online to iteratively solve the algebraic Riccati equation with completely unknown system dynamics as a solution to linear quadratic regulator problem. Furthermore, an online tuning adaptive optimal control algorithm is implemented using an actor-critic neural network recursive least-squares solution framework. The work in this thesis illustrates that reinforcement learning-based techniques can be successfully applied to non-uniform coverage control. Research combining non-uniform coverage control with reinforcement learning techniques is still at an embryonic stage and several limitations exist. Theoretical results are benchmarked and validated with related works in area coverage control through a set of computer simulations where multiple agents are able to deploy themselves, thus paving the way for efficient distributed Voronoi coverage control problems.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34584
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-5715
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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