Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Multi-Robot Routing

Global-local optimization in autonomous multi-vehicle systems

Participants : Guillaume Bono, Jilles Dibangoye, Laetitia Matignon, Olivier Simonin, Florian Peyreron [VOLVO Group, Lyon] .

This work is part of the PhD thesis in progress of Guillaume Bono, with the VOLVO Group, in the context of the INSA-VOLVO Chair. The goal of this project is to plan and learn at both global and local levels how to act when facing a vehicle routing problem (VRP). We started with a state-of-the-art paper on vehicle routing problems as it currently stands in the literature [62]. We were surprised to notice that few attention has been devoted to deep reinforcement learning approaches to solving VRP instances. Hence, we investigated our own deep reinforcement learning approach that can help one vehicle to learn how to generalize strategies from solved instances of travelling salesman problems (an instance of VRPs) to unsolved ones.

The difficulty of this problem lies in the fact that its Markov decision process' formulation is intractable, i.e., the number of states grows doubly exponentially with the number of cities to be visited by the salesman. To gain in scalability, we build inspiration on a recent work by DeepMind, which suggests using pointer-net, i.e., a novel deep neural network architecture, to address learning problems in which entries are sequences (here cities to be visited) and output are also sequences (here order in which cities should be visited). Preliminary results are encouraging and we are extending this work to the multi-agent setting.

Towards efficient algorithms for two-echelon vehicle routing problems

Participants : Mohamad Hobballah, Jilles S. Dibangoye, Olivier Simonin, Elie Garcia [VOLVO Group, Lyon] , Florian Peyreron [VOLVO Group, Lyon] .

During the last year, Mohamad Hobballah (post-doc INSA VOLVO Chair) investigated efficient meta-heuristics for solving two-echelon vehicle routing problems (2E-VRPs) along with realistic logistic constraints. Algorithms for this problem are of interest in many real-world applications. Our short-term application targets goods delivery by a fleet of autonomous vehicles from a depot to the clients through an urban consolidation center using bikers. Preliminary results include:

  1. (Methodological) Design of a novel meta-heuristic based on differential evolution algorithm [66] and iterative local search [101]. The former permits us to avoid being attracted by poor local optima whereas the latter performs the local solution improvement.

  2. (Empirical) Empirical results on standard benchmarks available at show state-of-the-art performances on most VRP, MDVRP and 2E-VRP instances.

Multi-Robot Routing (MRR) for evolving missions

Participants : Mihai Popescu, Olivier Simonin, Anne Spalanzani, Fabrice Valois [INSA/Inria, Agora team] .

After considering Multi-Robot Patrolling of known targets [86], we generalized to MRR (multi-robot routing) and to DMRR (Dynamic MRR) in the work of the PhD of M. Popescu. Target allocation problems have been frequently treated in contexts such as multi-robot rescue operations, exploration, or patrolling, being often formalized as multi-robot routing problems. There are few works addressing dynamic target allocation, such as allocation of previously unknown targets. We recently developed different solutions to variants of this problem :