UAV coverage path planning under varying power constraints using deep reinforcement learning

Mirco Theile, Harald Bayerlein, Richard Nai, David Gesbert, Marco Caccamo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Coverage path planning (CPP) is the task of designing a trajectory that enables a mobile agent to travel over every point of an area of interest. We propose a new method to control an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) carrying a camera on a CPP mission with random start positions and multiple options for landing positions in an environment containing no-fly zones. While numerous approaches have been proposed to solve similar CPP problems, we leverage end-to-end reinforcement learning (RL) to learn a control policy that generalizes over varying power constraints for the UAV. Despite recent improvements in battery technology, the maximum flying range of small UAVs is still a severe constraint, which is exacerbated by variations in the UAV's power consumption that are hard to predict. By using map-like input channels to feed spatial information through convolutional network layers to the agent, we are able to train a double deep Q-network (DDQN) to make control decisions for the UAV, balancing limited power budget and coverage goal. The proposed method can be applied to a wide variety of environments and harmonizes complex goal structures with system constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages1444-1449
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781728162126
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 24 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: Oct 24 2020Jan 24 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
ISSN (Print)2153-0858
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0866

Conference

Conference2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020
CountryUnited States
CityLas Vegas
Period10/24/201/24/21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications

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