Online Multilayered Motion Planning with Dynamic Constraints for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

E. Vidal Garcia, M. Moll, N. Palomeras, J. D. Hernández, M. Carreras, and L. Kavraki, “Online Multilayered Motion Planning with Dynamic Constraints for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles,” in IEEE Intl. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, 2019.


Underwater robots are subject to complex hydrodynamic forces. These forces define how the vehicle moves, so it is important to consider them when planning trajectories. However, performing motion planning considering the dynamics on the robot’s onboard computer is challenging due to the limited computational resources available. In this paper an efficient motion planning framework for AUV is presented. By introducing a loosely coupled multilayered planning design, our framework is able to generate dynamically feasible trajectories while keeping the planning time low enough for online planning. First, a fast path planner operating in a lower-dimensional projected space computes a lead path from the start to the goal configuration. Then, the lead path is used to bias the sampling of a second motion planner, which takes into account all the dynamic constraints. Furthermore, we propose a strategy for online planning that saves computational resources by generating the final trajectory only up to a finite horizon. By using the finite horizon strategy together with the multilayered approach, the sampling of the second planner focuses on regions where good quality solutions are more likely to be found, significantly reducing the planning time. To provide strong safety guarantees our framework also incorporates the conservative approximations of ICS. Finally, we present simulations and experiments using a real underwater robot to demonstrate the capabilities of our framework.