Socially Aware Crowd Navigation with Multimodal Pedestrian Trajectory Prediction for Autonomous Vehicles

Kunming Li, Mao Shan, Karan Narula, Stewart Worrall, Eduardo Nebot

Seamlessly operating an autonomous vehicle in a crowded pedestrian environment is a very challenging task. This is because human movement and interactions are very hard to predict in such environments. Recent work has demonstrated that reinforcement learning-based methods have the ability to learn to drive in crowds. However, these methods can have very poor performance due to inaccurate predictions of the pedestrians' future state as human motion prediction has a large variance. To overcome this problem, we propose a new method, SARL-SGAN-KCE, that combines a deep socially aware attentive value network with a human multimodal trajectory prediction model to help identify the optimal driving policy. We also introduce a novel technique to extend the discrete action space with minimal additional computational requirements. The kinematic constraints of the vehicle are also considered to ensure smooth and safe trajectories. We evaluate our method against the state of art methods for crowd navigation and provide an ablation study to show that our method is safer and closer to human behaviour.

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