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Hybrid Evolutionary Approach to Multi-objective Path Planning for UAVs

Nikolas Hohmann, Mariusz Bujny, Jürgen Adamy, Markus Olhofer, "Hybrid Evolutionary Approach to Multi-objective Path Planning for UAVs", IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, 2021.


The goal of Multi-Objective Path Planning (MOPP) is to find Pareto-optimal paths for autonomous agents with respect to several optimization goals like minimizing risk, path length, travel time, or energy consumption. In this work, we formulate a MOPP for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). We utilize a path representation based on Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) and propose a hybrid evolutionary approach combining an Evolution Strategy (ES) with the exact Dijkstra algorithm. Moreover, we compare our approach in a statistical analysis to state-of-the-art exact (Dijkstra's algorithm), gradient-based (L-BFGS-B), and evolutionary (NSGA-II) algorithms with respect to calculation time and quality features of the obtained Pareto fronts indicating convergence and diversity of the solutions. We evaluate the methods on a realistic 2D urban path planning scenario based on real-world data exported from OpenStreetMap. The examination's results indicate that our approach is able to find significantly better solutions for the formulated problem than standard Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs). Moreover, the proposed method is able to obtain more diverse sets of trade-off solutions for different objectives than the standard exact approaches. Thus, the method combines the strengths of both approaches.

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