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STEP: Stochastic Traversability Evaluation and Planning for Risk-Aware Off-road Navigation; Results from the DARPA Subterranean Challenge

Dixit, Anushri and Fan, David D. and Otsu, Kyohei and Dey, Sharmita and Agha-Mohammadi, Ali-Akbar and Burdick, Joel W. (2023) STEP: Stochastic Traversability Evaluation and Planning for Risk-Aware Off-road Navigation; Results from the DARPA Subterranean Challenge. . (Unpublished)

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Although autonomy has gained widespread usage in structured and controlled environments, robotic autonomy in unknown and off-road terrain remains a difficult problem. Extreme, off-road, and unstructured environments such as undeveloped wilderness, caves, rubble, and other post-disaster sites pose unique and challenging problems for autonomous navigation. Based on our participation in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, we propose an approach to improve autonomous traversal of robots in subterranean environments that are perceptually degraded and completely unknown through a traversability and planning framework called STEP (Stochastic Traversability Evaluation and Planning). We present 1) rapid uncertainty-aware mapping and traversability evaluation, 2) tail risk assessment using the Conditional Value-at-Risk (CVaR), 3) efficient risk and constraint-aware kinodynamic motion planning using sequential quadratic programming-based (SQP) model predictive control (MPC), 4) fast recovery behaviors to account for unexpected scenarios that may cause failure, and 5) risk-based gait adaptation for quadrupedal robots. We illustrate and validate extensive results from our experiments on wheeled and legged robotic platforms in field studies at the Valentine Cave, CA (cave environment), Kentucky Underground, KY (mine environment), and Louisville Mega Cavern, KY (final competition site for the DARPA Subterranean Challenge with tunnel, urban, and cave environments).

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Dixit, Anushri0000-0002-9698-2189
Otsu, Kyohei0000-0002-9363-8817
Dey, Sharmita0000-0001-8058-4867
Agha-Mohammadi, Ali-Akbar0000-0001-5509-1841
Burdick, Joel W.0000-0002-3091-540X
Additional Information:© 2023, California Institute of Technology. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The work is performed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D0004), and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230316-204056145
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:120109
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:17 Mar 2023 00:42
Last Modified:17 Mar 2023 00:42

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