AGATE generates a set of ranked strategies that enables an autonomous vehicle to track/trail another vehicle that is trying to break the contact using evasive tactics. The software is efficient (can be run on a laptop), scales well with environmental complexity, and is suitable for use onboard an autonomous vehicle. The software will run in near-real-time (2 Hz) on most commercial laptops. Existing software is usually run offline in a planning mode, and is not used to control an unmanned vehicle actively.

JPL has developed a system for AGATE that uses adversarial game theory (AGT) methods (in particular, leader-follower and pursuit-evasion) to enable an autonomous vehicle (AV) to maintain tracking/trailing operations on a target that is employing evasive tactics. The AV trailing, tracking, and reacquisition operations are characterized by imperfect information, and are an example of a non-zero sum game (a positive payoff for the AV is not necessarily an equal loss for the target being tracked and, potentially, additional adversarial boats). Previously, JPL successfully applied the Nash equilibrium method for onboard control of an autonomous ground vehicle (AGV) travelling over hazardous terrain.

This work was done by Terrance L. Huntsberger of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-48697

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2013 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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