A Safe Hierarchical Planning Framework for Complex Driving Scenarios based on Reinforcement Learning

17 Jan 2021  ·  Jinning Li, Liting Sun, Jianyu Chen, Masayoshi Tomizuka, Wei Zhan ·

Autonomous vehicles need to handle various traffic conditions and make safe and efficient decisions and maneuvers. However, on the one hand, a single optimization/sampling-based motion planner cannot efficiently generate safe trajectories in real time, particularly when there are many interactive vehicles near by. On the other hand, end-to-end learning methods cannot assure the safety of the outcomes. To address this challenge, we propose a hierarchical behavior planning framework with a set of low-level safe controllers and a high-level reinforcement learning algorithm (H-CtRL) as a coordinator for the low-level controllers. Safety is guaranteed by the low-level optimization/sampling-based controllers, while the high-level reinforcement learning algorithm makes H-CtRL an adaptive and efficient behavior planner. To train and test our proposed algorithm, we built a simulator that can reproduce traffic scenes using real-world datasets. The proposed H-CtRL is proved to be effective in various realistic simulation scenarios, with satisfying performance in terms of both safety and efficiency.

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