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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 528162, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/528162
Research Article

Guidance of Autonomous Amphibious Vehicles for Flood Rescue Support

1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1373, USA
2Faculty of Engineering, Multimedia University, Malaysia

Received 14 February 2013; Revised 6 May 2013; Accepted 7 May 2013

Academic Editor: Yongping Li

Copyright © 2013 Shankarachary Ragi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We develop a path-planning algorithm to guide autonomous amphibious vehicles (AAVs) for flood rescue support missions. Specifically, we develop an algorithm to control multiple AAVs to reach/rescue multiple victims (also called targets) in a flood scenario in 2D, where the flood water flows across the scene and the targets move (drifted by the flood water) along the flood stream. A target is said to be rescued if an AAV lies within a circular region of a certain radius around the target. The goal is to control the AAVs such that each target gets rescued while optimizing a certain performance objective. The algorithm design is based on the theory of partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP). In practice, POMDP problems are hard to solve exactly, so we use an approximation method called nominal belief-state optimization (NBO). We compare the performance of the NBO approach with a greedy approach.