Autonomous Robots

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 261–282 | Cite as

Model-predictive asset guarding by team of autonomous surface vehicles in environment with civilian boats

  • Eric Raboin
  • Petr Švec
  • Dana S. Nau
  • Satyandra K. GuptaEmail author


In this paper, we present a contract-based, decentralized planning approach for a team of autonomous unmanned surface vehicles (USV) to patrol and guard an asset in an environment with hostile boats and civilian traffic. The USVs in the team have to cooperatively deal with the uncertainty about which boats pose an actual threat and distribute themselves around the asset to optimize their guarding opportunities. The developed planner incorporates a contract-based algorithm for allocating tasks to the USVs through forward simulating the mission and assigning estimated utilities to candidate task allocation plans. The task allocation process uses a form of marginal cost-based contracting that allows decentralized, cooperative task negotiation among neighboring agents. The task allocation plans are realized through a corresponding set of low-level behaviors. In this paper, we demonstrate the planner using two mission scenarios. However, the planner is general enough to be used for a variety of scenarios with mission-specific tasks and behaviors. We provide detailed analysis of simulation results and discuss the impact of communication interruptions, unreliable sensor data, and simulation inaccuracies on the performance of the planner.


Decentralized planning Task allocation Unmanned vehicles Unmanned surface vehicles 



This research has been supported by ONR N00014-10-1-0585, N00014-12-1-0494, N00014-12-1-0430, N00014-13-1-0597, and ARO W911NF-12-1-0471 and W911NF-11-1-0344 grants. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect opinions of the sponsors.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Raboin
    • 1
  • Petr Švec
    • 2
  • Dana S. Nau
    • 3
  • Satyandra K. Gupta
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Simulation Based System Design Laboratory, Maryland Robotics Center, Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer Science and Institute for Systems ResearchUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  4. 4.Simulation Based System Design Laboratory, Maryland Robotics Center, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Institute for Systems ResearchUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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