MA3: Model-Accuracy Aware Anytime Planning with Simulation Verification for Navigating Complex Terrains


  • Manash Pratim Das Carnegie Mellon University
  • Damon M Conover DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
  • Sungmin Eum DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Heesung Kwon DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
  • Maxim Likhachev Carnegie Mellon University


Search In Robotics, Search In Goal-directed Problem Solving, Real-life Applications, Machine And Deep Learning In Search


Off-road and unstructured environments often contain complex patches of various types of terrain, rough elevation changes, deformable objects, etc. An autonomous ground vehicle traversing such environments experiences physical interactions that are extremely hard to model at scale and thus very hard to predict. Nevertheless, planning a safely traversable path through such an environment requires the ability to predict the outcomes of these interactions instead of avoiding them. One approach to doing this is to learn the interaction model offline based on collected data. Unfortunately, though, this requires large amounts of data and can often be brittle. Alternatively, models using physics-based simulators can generate large data and provide a reliable prediction. However, they are very slow to query online within the planning loop. This work proposes an algorithmic framework that utilizes the combination of a learned model and a physics-based simulation model for fast planning. Specifically, it uses the learned model as much as possible to accelerate planning while sparsely using the physics-based simulator to verify the feasibility of the planned path. We provide a theoretical analysis of the algorithm and its empirical evaluation showing a significant reduction in planning times.