Multi-agent persistent surveillance under temporal logic constraints
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This thesis proposes algorithms for the deployment of multiple autonomous agents for persistent surveillance missions requiring repeated, periodic visits to regions of interest. Such problems arise in a variety of domains, such as monitoring ocean conditions like temperature and algae content, performing crowd security during public events, tracking wildlife in remote or dangerous areas, or watching traffic patterns and road conditions. Using robots for surveillance is an attractive solution to scenarios in which fixed sensors are not sufficient to maintain situational awareness. Multi-agent solutions are particularly promising, because they allow for improved spatial and temporal resolution of sensor information. In this work, we consider persistent monitoring by teams of agents that are tasked with satisfying missions specified using temporal logic formulas. Such formulas allow rich, complex tasks to be specified, such as "visit regions A and B infinitely often, and if region C is visited then go to region D, and always avoid obstacles." The agents must determine how to satisfy such missions according to fuel, communication, and other constraints. Such problems are inherently difficult due to the typically infinite horizon, state space explosion from planning for multiple agents, communication constraints, and other issues. Therefore, computing an optimal solution to these problems is often infeasible. Instead, a balance must be struck between computational complexity and optimality. This thesis describes solution methods for two main classes of multi-agent persistent surveillance problems. First, it considers the class of problems in which persistent surveillance goals are captured entirely by TL constraints. Such problems require agents to repeatedly visit a set of surveillance regions in order to satisfy their mission. We present results for agents solving such missions with charging constraints, with noisy observations, and in the presence of adversaries. The second class of problems include an additional optimality criterion, such as minimizing uncertainty about the location of a target or maximizing sensor information among the team of agents. We present solution methods and results for such missions with a variety of optimality criteria based on information metrics. For both classes of problems, the proposed algorithms are implemented and evaluated via simulation, experiments with robots in a motion capture environment, or both.