Multi-Robot Hybrid Coverage Path Planning for 3D Reconstruction of Large Structures

Randa Almadhoun, Tarek Taha, Lakmal Seneviratne, Yahya Zweiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coverage Path Planning (CPP) is an essential capability for autonomous robots operating in various critical applications such as fire fighting, and inspection. Performing autonomous coverage using a single robot system consumes time and energy. In particular, 3D large structures might contain some complex and occluded areas that shall be scanned rapidly in certain application domains. In this paper, a new Hybrid Coverage Path Planning (HCPP) approach is proposed to explore and cover unknown 3D large structures using a decentralized multi-robot system. The HCPP approach combines a guided Next Best View (NBV) approach with a developed Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) waypoint prediction approach to decrease the CPP exploration time at each iteration and simultaneously achieve high coverage. The hybrid approach is the new ML paradigm which fosters intelligence by balancing between data efficiency and generality allowing the exchange of some CPP parts with a learned model. The HCPP uses a stateful LSTM network architecture which is trained based on collected paths that cover different 3D structures to predict the next viewpoint. This architecture captures the dynamic dependencies of adjacent viewpoints in the long term sequences like the coverage paths. The HCPP switches between these methods triggered by either the number of iterations or an entropy threshold. In the decentralized multi-robot system, the proposed HCPP is embedded in each robot where each one of them shares its global 3D map ensuring robustness. The results performed in a realistic Gazebo robotic simulator confirmed the advantage of the proposed HCPP approach by achieving high coverage on different 3D unknown structures in a shorter time compared to conventional NBV.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)2037-2050
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Access
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • 3D reconstruction
  • Autonomous exploration
  • coverage planning
  • LSTM
  • multi-robot
  • path prediction

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