Student First Author: yes
Keywords: deep RL, informative path planning, context-aware decision-making
TL;DR: Our context-aware neural framework for adaptive IPP allows a robot to sequence non-myopic decisions that can balance short-term exploitation with longer-term exploration, resulting in improved solution quality and drastically reduced planning times.
Abstract: Informative path planning (IPP) is an NP-hard problem, which aims at planning a path allowing an agent to build an accurate belief about a quantity of interest throughout a given search domain, within constraints on resource budget (e.g., path length for robots with limited battery life). IPP requires frequent online replanning as this belief is updated with every new measurement (i.e., adaptive IPP), while balancing short-term exploitation and longer-term exploration to avoid suboptimal, myopic behaviors. Encouraged by the recent developments in deep reinforcement learning, we introduce CAtNIPP, a fully reactive, neural approach to the adaptive IPP problem. CAtNIPP relies on self-attention for its powerful ability to capture dependencies in data at multiple spatial scales. Specifically, our agent learns to form a context of its belief over the entire domain, which it uses to sequence local movement decisions that optimize short- and longer-term search objectives. We experimentally demonstrate that CAtNIPP significantly outperforms state-of-the-art non-learning IPP solvers in terms of solution quality and computing time once trained, and present experimental results on hardware.
Supplementary Material: zip