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Efficient Routing Algorithms for Multiple Vehicles with No Explicit Communications

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Journal Article

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge

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In this paper we consider a class of dynamic vehicle routing problems, in which a number of mobile agents in the plane mustvisit target points generated over time by a stochastic process. It is desired to design motion coordination strategies in order tominimize the expected time between the appearance of a target point and the time it is visited by one of the agents. We proposecontrol strategies that, while making minimal or no assumptions on communications between agents, provide the same level ofsteady-state performance achieved by the best known decentralized strategies. In other words, we demonstrate that inter-agentcommunication does not improve the efficiency of such systems, but merely affects the rate of convergence to the steady state.Furthermore, the proposed strategies do not rely on the knowledge of the details of the underlying stochastic process. Finally, weshow that our proposed strategies yield an efficient, pure Nash equilibrium in a game theoretic formulation of the problem, inwhich each agents objective is to maximize the expected value of the time spent alone at the next target location. Simulationresults are presented and discussed.

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