Efficient Domain Coverage for Vehicles with Second Order Dynamics via Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

11 Nov 2022  ·  Xinyu Zhao, Razvan C. Fetecau, Mo Chen ·

Collaborative autonomous multi-agent systems covering a specified area have many potential applications, such as UAV search and rescue, forest fire fighting, and real-time high-resolution monitoring. Traditional approaches for such coverage problems involve designing a model-based control policy based on sensor data. However, designing model-based controllers is challenging, and the state-of-the-art classical control policy still exhibits a large degree of suboptimality. In this paper, we present a reinforcement learning (RL) approach for the multi-agent coverage problem involving agents with second-order dynamics. Our approach is based on the Multi-Agent Proximal Policy Optimization Algorithm (MAPPO). To improve the stability of the learning-based policy and efficiency of exploration, we utilize an imitation loss based on the state-of-the-art classical control policy. Our trained policy significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art. Our proposed network architecture includes incorporation of self attention, which allows a single-shot domain transfer of the trained policy to a large variety of domain shapes and number of agents. We demonstrate our proposed method in a variety of simulated experiments.

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