TRiLOGy: Sustainable Transportation and Logistics Over Water: Electrification, Automation, and Optimization

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Elia Trevisan - PhD candidate
Prof. Javier Alonso-Mora - Autonomous Multi-Robot Lab (AMR) TU Delft
Prof. Bilge Atasoy - Key collaborator.


NWO Top Sector Water & Maritime: the Blue route, 'Sustainable Transportation and Logistics over Water: Electrification, Automation and Optimization (TRiLOGy)', 2020-2024.

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About the Project

TRiLOGy will unlock the potential of transportation and logistics in urban waterways with electric and autonomous vessels by enabling safer, more sustainable and efficient operations. The project is divided into two main modules:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Fleet management

The autonomy module, which is the focus of our group, aims at developing autonomy tools for navigation in inland waterways, among other manned and unmanned vessels. The main challenges to ensure safe and efficient navigation of autonomous vessels in urban waters is that of generating safe trajectories that (i) take into account the goals expressed by the high-level integrated strategy, (ii) take into account the complex dynamics of the vessel and (iii) coordinate with other traffic participants.


Related Publications

Multi-Modal MPPI and Active Inference for Reactive Task and Motion Planning
Yuezhe Zhang, Corrado Pezzato, Elia Trevisan, Chadi Salmi, Carlos Hernández Corbato, Javier Alonso-Mora. In IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), 2024.

Task and Motion Planning (TAMP) has made strides in complex manipulation tasks, yet the execution robustness of the planned solutions remains overlooked. In this work, we propose a method for reactive TAMP to cope with runtime uncertainties and disturbances. We combine an Active Inference planner (AIP) for adaptive high-level action selection and a novel Multi-Modal Model Predictive Path Integral controller (M3P2I) for low-level control. This results in a scheme that simultaneously adapts both high-level actions and low-level motions. The AIP generates alternative symbolic plans, each linked to a cost function for M3P2I. The latter employs a physics simulator for diverse trajectory rollouts, deriving optimal control by weighing the different samples according to their cost. This idea enables blending different robot skills for fluid and reactive plan execution, accommodating plan adjustments at both the high and low levels to cope, for instance, with dynamic obstacles or disturbances that invalidate the current plan. We have tested our approach in simulations and real-world scenarios.
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Biased-MPPI: Informing Sampling-Based Model Predictive Control by Fusing Ancillary Controllers
Elia Trevisan, Javier Alonso-Mora. In IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), 2024.

Motion planning for autonomous robots in dynamic environments poses numerous challenges due to uncertainties in the robot's dynamics and interaction with other agents. Sampling-based MPC approaches, such as Model Predictive Path Integral (MPPI) control, have shown promise in addressing these complex motion planning problems. However, the performance of MPPI relies heavily on the choice of sampling distribution. Existing literature often uses the previously computed input sequence as the mean of a Gaussian distribution for sampling, leading to potential failures and local minima. In this paper, we propose a novel derivation of MPPI that allows for arbitrary sampling distributions to enhance efficiency, robustness, and convergence while alleviating the problem of local minima. We present an efficient importance sampling scheme that combines classical and learning-based ancillary controllers simultaneously, resulting in more informative sampling and control fusion. Several simulated and real-world demonstrate the validity of our approach.
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Interaction-Aware Sampling-Based MPC with Learned Local Goal Predictions
W. Jansma, E. Trevisan, Á. Serra-Gómez, J. Alonso-Mora. In Proc. IEEE International Symposium on Multi-Robot and Multi-Agent Systems, 2023.

Abstract: Motion planning for autonomous robots in tight, interaction-rich, and mixed human-robot environments is challenging. State-of-the-art methods typically separate prediction and planning, predicting other agents' trajectories first and then planning the ego agent's motion in the remaining free space. However, agents' lack of awareness of their influence on others can lead to the freezing robot problem. We build upon Interaction-Aware Model Predictive Path Integral (IA-MPPI) control and combine it with learning-based trajectory predictions, thereby relaxing its reliance on communicated short-term goals for other agents. We apply this framework to Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs) navigating urban canals. By generating an artificial dataset in real sections of Amsterdam's canals, adapting and training a prediction model for our domain, and proposing heuristics to extract local goals, we enable effective cooperation in planning. Our approach improves autonomous robot navigation in complex, crowded environments, with potential implications for multi-agent systems and human-robot interaction.
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Multi-Agent Path Integral Control for Interaction-Aware Motion Planning in Urban Canals
L. Streichenberg, E. Trevisan, J. J. Chung, R. Siegwart, J. Alonso-Mora. In , in IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2023.

Abstract: Autonomous vehicles that operate in urban envi- ronments shall comply with existing rules and reason about the interactions with other decision-making agents. In this paper, we introduce a decentralized and communication-free interaction-aware motion planner and apply it to Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs) in urban canals. We build upon a sampling-based method, namely Model Predictive Path Integral control (MPPI), and employ it to, in each time instance, compute both a collision-free trajectory for the vehicle and a prediction of other agents’ trajectories, thus modeling inter- actions. To improve the method’s efficiency in multi-agent sce- narios, we introduce a two-stage sample evaluation strategy and define an appropriate cost function to achieve rule compliance. We evaluate this decentralized approach in simulations with multiple vessels in real scenarios extracted from Amsterdam’s canals, showing superior performance than a state-of-the- art trajectory optimization framework and robustness when encountering different types of agents.

Sampling-Based MPC Using a GPU-parallelizable Physics Simulator as Dynamic Model: an Open Source Implementation with IsaacGym
C. Pezzato, C. Salmi, E. Trevisan, J. Alonso-Mora, C. Hernández Corbato. In Embracing Contacts Workshop at IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2023.

Abstract: We present a method for solving finite horizon optimal control problems using a generic physics simulator as the dynamical model. In particular, we present an open-source implementation of a model predictive path integral controller (MPPI), that uses the GPU-parallelizable IsaacGym simulator as the dynamical model to compute the forward dynamics of the system. This allows one to effortlessly solve complex contact-rich tasks such as for example, non-prehensile manipulation of a variety of objects, or picking with a mobile manipulator. Since there is no explicit dynamic modeling required from a user, the repository is easily extendable to different objects and robots, as we show in the experiments section. This makes this method a powerful and accessible tool to solve a large variety of contact-rich tasks.

Regulations Aware Motion Planning for Autonomous Surface Vessels in Urban Canals
J. de Vries, E. Trevisan, J. van der Toorn, T. Das, B. Brito, J. Alonso-Mora. In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2022.

Abstract: In unstructured urban canals, regulation-aware interactions with other vessels are essential for collision avoidance and social compliance. In this paper, we propose a regulations aware motion planning framework for Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs) that accounts for dynamic and static obstacles. Our method builds upon local model predictive contouring control (LMPCC) to generate motion plans satisfying kino-dynamic and collision constraints in real-time while including regulation awareness. To incorporate regulations in the planning stage, we propose a cost function encouraging compliance with rules describing interactions with other vessels similar to COLlision avoidance REGulations at sea (COLREGs). These regulations are essential to make an ASV behave in a predictable and socially compliant manner with regard to other vessels. We compare the framework against baseline methods and show more effective regulation-compliance avoidance of moving obstacles with our motion planner. Additionally, we present experimental results in an outdoor environment.