Decision-based motion planning for cooperative and autonomous vehicles

Abstract : The deployment of future self-driving vehicles is expected to have a major socioeconomic impact due to their promise to be both safer and more traffic-efficient than human-driven vehicles. In order to live up to these expectations, the ability of autonomous vehicles to plan safe trajectories and maneuver efficiently around obstacles will be paramount. However, motion planning among static or moving objects such as other vehicles is known to be a highly combinatorial problem, that remains challenging even for state-of-the-art algorithms. Indeed, the presence of obstacles creates exponentially many discrete maneuver choices, which are difficult even to characterize in the context of autonomous driving. This thesis explores a new approach to motion planning, based on using this notion of driving decisions as a guide to give structure to the planning problem, ultimately allowing easier resolution. This decision-based motion planning approach can find applications in cooperative driving, for instance to coordinate multiple vehicles through an unsignalized intersection, as well as in autonomous driving where a single vehicle plans its own trajectory. In the case of cooperative driving, decisions are known to correspond to the choice of a relative ordering for conflicting vehicles, which can be conveniently encoded as a graph. This thesis introduces a similar graph representation in the case of autonomous driving, where possible decisions -- such as overtaking the vehicle at a specific time -- are much more complex. Once a decision is made, planning the best possible trajectory corresponding to this decision is a much simpler problem, both in cooperative and autonomous driving. This decision-aware approach may lead to more robust and efficient motion planning, and opens exciting perspectives for combining classical mathematic programming algorithms with more modern machine learning techniques.
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Florent Altché. Decision-based motion planning for cooperative and autonomous vehicles. Automatic Control Engineering. PSL Research University, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018PSLEM061⟩. ⟨tel-02073593⟩

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