Risk-Averse RRT* Planning with Nonlinear Steering and Tracking Controllers for Nonlinear Robotic Systems Under Uncertainty

Sleiman Safaoui, Benjamin J. Gravell, Venkatraman Renganathan, Tyler H. Summers

We propose a two-phase risk-averse architecture for controlling stochastic nonlinear robotic systems. We present Risk-Averse Nonlinear Steering RRT* (RANS-RRT*) as an RRT* variant that incorporates nonlinear dynamics by solving a nonlinear program (NLP) and accounts for risk by approximating the state distribution and performing a distributionally robust (DR) collision check to promote safe planning.The generated plan is used as a reference for a low-level tracking controller. We demonstrate three controllers: finite horizon linear quadratic regulator (LQR) with linearized dynamics around the reference trajectory, LQR with robustness-promoting multiplicative noise terms, and a nonlinear model predictive control law (NMPC). We demonstrate the effectiveness of our algorithm using unicycle dynamics under heavy-tailed Laplace process noise in a cluttered environment.

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