Towards Provably Not-at-Fault Control of Autonomous Robots in Arbitrary Dynamic Environments

by   Sean Vaskov, et al.

As autonomous robots increasingly become part of daily life, they will often encounter dynamic environments while only having limited information about their surroundings. Unfortunately, due to the possible presence of malicious dynamic actors, it is infeasible to develop an algorithm that can guarantee collision-free operation. Instead, one can attempt to design a control technique that guarantees the robot is not-at-fault in any collision. In the literature, making such guarantees in real time has been restricted to static environments or specific dynamic models. To ensure not-at-fault behavior, a robot must first correctly sense and predict the world around it within some sufficiently large sensor horizon (the prediction problem), then correctly control relative to the predictions (the control problem). This paper addresses the control problem by proposing Reachability-based Trajectory Design for Dynamic environments (RTD-D), which guarantees that a robot with an arbitrary nonlinear dynamic model correctly responds to predictions in arbitrary dynamic environments. RTD-D first computes a Forward Reachable Set (FRS) offline of the robot tracking parameterized desired trajectories that include fail-safe maneuvers. Then, for online receding-horizon planning, the method provides a way to discretize predictions of an arbitrary dynamic environment to enable real-time collision checking. The FRS is used to map these discretized predictions to trajectories that the robot can track while provably not-at-fault. One such trajectory is chosen at each iteration, or the robot executes the fail-safe maneuver from its previous trajectory which is guaranteed to be not at fault. RTD-D is shown to produce not-at-fault behavior over thousands of simulations and several real-world hardware demonstrations on two robots: a Segway, and a small electric vehicle.


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