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Efficient Pursuit of a Moving Target via Spatial Constraint Exploitation

Ablavsky, V., Snorrason, M., and Holden, S.

Proceedings of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Conference, Montreal (August 2001)

The problem of optimal (or near-optimal) exhaustive search for a moving target is of importance in many civilian and military applications. Search-and-rescue in open sea or in sparsely-populated areas and search missions for previously-spotted enemy targets are just a few examples. Yet, few known algorithms exist for solving this problem and none of them combine the optimal allocation of search effort with the actual computation of trajectories that a searcher must (and physically can) follow. We propose a technique for exploiting the target spatial mobility constraints to derive accurate regions of interest. We also propose a technique for exploiting the geometric properties of a region of interest to decompose the overall search problem into a set of simpler search problems. The technique is both generalizable to multiple search agents and extensible in that additional real-life search requirements (maneuverability constraints, additional information about the sensor, etc.) can be incorporated into the existing framework. Another novelty of our approach is the ability to optimally deal with a search platform which, due to design constraints, can only perform detection while moving along straight-line sweeps.

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