Opportunistic planning in autonomous underwater missions

Cashmore, Michael and Fox, Maria and Long, Derek and Magazzeni, Daniele and Ridder, Bram (2018) Opportunistic planning in autonomous underwater missions. IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering, 15 (2). pp. 519-530. ISSN 1545-5955 (https://doi.org/10.1109/TASE.2016.2636662)

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This paper explores the execution of planned autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) missions where opportunities to achieve additional utility can arise during execution. The missions are represented as temporal planning problems, with hard goals and time constraints. Opportunities are soft goals with high utility. The probability distributions for the occurrences of these opportunities are not known, but it is known that they are unlikely, so it is not worth trying to anticipate their occurrence prior to plan execution. However, as they are high utility, it is worth trying to address them dynamically when they are encountered, as long as this can be done without sacrificing the achievement of the hard goals of the problem. We formally characterize the opportunistic planning problem, introduce a novel approach to opportunistic planning, and compare it with an on-board replanning approach in the domain of AUVs performing pillar expection and chain-following tasks.