Informative Path Planning in Random Fields via Mixed Integer Programming

20 Apr 2022  ·  Shamak Dutta, Nils Wilde, Stephen L. Smith ·

We present a new mixed integer formulation for the discrete informative path planning problem in random fields. The objective is to compute a budget constrained path while collecting measurements whose linear estimate results in minimum error over a finite set of prediction locations. The problem is known to be NP-hard. However, we strive to compute optimal solutions by leveraging advances in mixed integer optimization. Our approach is based on expanding the search space so we optimize not only over the collected measurement subset, but also over the class of all linear estimators. This allows us to formulate a mixed integer quadratic program that is convex in the continuous variables. The formulations are general and are not restricted to any covariance structure of the field. In simulations, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach over previous branch and bound algorithms.

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