Unmanned aircraft collision avoidance using continuous-state POMDPs
June 27, 2011
An effective collision avoidance system for unmanned aircraft will enable them to fly in civil airspace and greatly expand their applications. One promising approach is to model aircraft collision avoidance as a partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP) and automatically generate the threat resolution logic for the collision avoidance system by solving the POMDP model. However, existing discrete-state POMDP algorithms cannot cope with the high-dimensional state space in collision avoidance POMDPs. Using a recently developed algorithm called Monte Carlo Value Iteration (MCVI), we constructed several continuous-state POMDP models and solved them directly, without discretizing the state space. Simulation results show that our 3-D continuous-state models reduce the collision risk by up to 70 times, compared with earlier 2-D discrete-state POMDP models. The success demonstrates both the benefits of continuous-state POMDP models for collision avoidance systems and the latest algorithmic progress in solving these complex models.