COLREGS-Compliant Target Following for an Unmanned Surface Vehicle in Dynamic Environments
This paper presents the autonomous tracking and following of a marine vessel by an Unmanned Surface Vehicle in the presence of dynamic obstacles while following the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) rules. The motion prediction for the target vessel is based on Monte-Carlo sampling of dynamically feasible and collision-free paths with fuzzy weights, leading to a predicted path resembling anthropomorphic driving behavior. This prediction is continuously optimized for a particular target by learning the necessary parameters for a 3-degree-of-freedom model of the vessel and its maneuvering behavior from its path history without any prior knowledge. The path planning for the USV with COLREGS is achieved on a grid-based map in a single stage by incorporating A* path planning with Artificial Terrain Costs for dynamically changing obstacles. Various scenarios for interaction, including multiple civilian and adversarial vessels, are handled by the planner with ease. The effectiveness of the algorithms has been demonstrated both in representative simulations and on-water experiments.