Exploring the Potential of Multiagent Learning for Autonomous Intersection Control

Exploring the Potential of Multiagent Learning for Autonomous Intersection Control

Matteo Vasirani (University Rey Juan Carlos, Spain) and Sascha Ossowski (University Rey Juan Carlos, Spain)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-226-8.ch013
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The problem of advanced intersection control is being discovered as a promising application field for multiagent technology. In this context, drivers interact autonomously with a coordination facility that controls the traffic flow through an intersection, with the aim of avoiding collisions and minimizing delays. This is particularly interesting in the case of autonomous vehicles that are controlled entirely by agents, a scenario that will become possible in the near future. In this chapter, the authors seize the opportunities of multiagent learning offered by such a scenario, by introducing a coordination mechanism where teams of agents coordinate their velocities when approaching the intersection in a decentralized way. They show that this approach enables the agents to improve the intersection efficiency, by reducing the average travel time and so contributing to alleviate traffic congestions.
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Traffic congestion is a costly problem in all developed countries. Many human-centered instruments and solutions (e.g. message signs, temporary lane closings, speed limit changes), are deployed in highways and roads in order to speed up the traffic flow. Nevertheless, in line with the recent advances of computerized infrastructures, the problem of road traffic management is being discovered as a promising application field for multiagent technology (Klügl, 2005). Multiagent systems (MAS) are the ideal candidates for the implementation of road traffic management systems, due to the intrinsically distributed nature of traffic-related problems.

In this context, the problem of advanced intersection control, where drivers interact autonomously with a coordination facility that controls the traffic flow through an intersection so as to avoid collisions while minimizing delays, is receiving more and more attention.

In (Dresner, 2004) is introduced a reservation-based system in which vehicles request an intersection manager to reserve the necessary time slots during which they may pass through the intersection. This work opens many possibilities for multiagent learning, with the goal of improving the efficiency of intersections.

In this chapter, we present a coordination mechanism based on Probability Collectives (PC) (Wolpert, 2004). With such an approach, teams of agents coordinate their velocities during their approximation to the intersection in a decentralized way, with the aim of reducing the average travel time by making better, non-conflicting, reservations.

Reservation-Based Intersection Control

In the chapter by Dresner et al. in this book, a reservation-based system for intersection control is proposed. In such system, an intersection manager is responsible for managing the vehicles that want to pass through the intersection, by assigning the necessary time slots, while the driver agents are responsible for controlling the vehicles to which they are assigned.

A driver agent, when approaching the intersection, “calls ahead” the intersection manager and requests a reservation of space and time in the intersection, providing all the necessary information to simulate the vehicle journey through the intersection (vehicle ID, vehicle size, arrival time, arrival velocity, type of turn, arrival lane, arrival road segment,…).

If the request is confirmed by the intersection manager, the driver agent stores the reservation details and tries to meet them. Otherwise, it slows down and makes another request at a later time.

The reservation system offers many opportunities for improving the efficiency of intersection, by incorporating learning mechanisms in the agents (Dresner, 2006). For example, since the intersection manager serves the requests in a “first-come-first-served” fashion, it is possible to relax this constraint and allow the intersection manager to respond to the requests at a later time. In this way the intersection manager can evaluate more competing requests at the same time and make a more well-informed decision.

While the learning opportunities for the intersection manager are of the form of single agent learning, the very multiagent learning opportunities reside in the driver agents. In the current implementation, driver agents must estimate the arrival time at the intersection, the arrival velocity, the arrival lane … without communication nor coordination with the other driver agents; each agent makes its request on the basis of its actual velocity, and, if the request is rejected, the driver slows down and tries again. On the other hand, by letting the agents form teams and coordinate their actions, we provide them with more information that they use to make decisions.

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Ana Bazzan, Franziska Klügl
Ana Bazzan, Franziska Klügl
Chapter 1
Takeshi Takama
This study discusses adaptation effects and congestion in a multi-agent system (MAS) to analyse real transport and traffic problems. Both... Sample PDF
Adaptation and Congestion in a Multi-Agent System to Analyse Empirical Traffic Problems: Concepts and a Case Study of the Road User Charging Scheme at the Upper Derwent
Chapter 2
Qi Han, Theo Arentze, Harry Timmermans, Davy Janssens, Geert Wets
Contributing to the recent interest in the dynamics of activity-travel patterns, this chapter discusses a framework of an agent-based modeling... Sample PDF
A Multi-Agent Modeling Approach to Simulate Dynamic Activity-Travel Patterns
Chapter 3
Michael Balmer, Marcel Rieser, Konrad Meister, David Charypar, Nicolas Lefebvre, Kai Nagel
Micro-simulations for transport planning are becoming increasingly important in traffic simulation, traffic analysis, and traffic forecasting. In... Sample PDF
MATSim-T: Architecture and Simulation Times
Chapter 4
Ulf Lotzmann
In this chapter an agent-based traffic simulation approach is presented which sees agents as individual traffic participants moving in an artificial... Sample PDF
TRASS: A Multi-Purpose Agent-Based Simulation Framework for Complex Traffic Simulation Applications
Chapter 5
Paulo A.F. Ferreira, Edgar F. Esteves, Rosaldo J.F. Rossetti, Eugénio C. Oliveira
Trading off between realism and too much abstraction is an important issue to address in microscopic traffic simulation. In this chapter the authors... Sample PDF
Applying Situated Agents to Microscopic Traffic Modelling
Chapter 6
Andreas Schadschneider, Hubert Klüpfel, Tobias Kretz, Christian Rogsch, Armin Seyfried
Multi-Agent Simulation is a general and powerful framework for understanding and predicting the behaviour of social systems. Here the authors... Sample PDF
Fundamentals of Pedestrian and Evacuation Dynamics
Chapter 7
Rex Oleson, D. J. Kaup, Thomas L. Clarke, Linda C. Malone, Ladislau Bölöni
The “Social Potential”, which the authors will refer to as the SP, is the name given to a technique of implementing multi-agent movement in... Sample PDF
"Social Potential" Models for Modeling Traffic and Transportation
Chapter 8
Sabine Timpf
In this chapter, the authors present a methodology for simulating human navigation within the context of public, multi-modal transport. They show... Sample PDF
Towards Simulating Cognitive Agents in Public Transport Systems
Chapter 9
Kurt Dresner, Peter Stone, Mark Van Middlesworth
Fully autonomous vehicles promise enormous gains in safety, efficiency, and economy for transportation. In previous work, the authors of this... Sample PDF
An Unmanaged Intersection Protocol and Improved Intersection Safety for Autonomous Vehicles
Chapter 10
Heiko Schepperle, Klemens Böhm
Current intersection-control systems lack one important feature: They are unaware of the different valuations of reduced waiting time of the... Sample PDF
Valuation-Aware Traffic Control: The Notion and the Issues
Chapter 11
Charles Desjardins, Julien Laumônier, Brahim Chaib-draa
This chapter studies the use of agent technology in the domain of vehicle control. More specifically, it illustrates how agents can address the... Sample PDF
Learning Agents for Collaborative Driving
Chapter 12
Kagan Tumer, Zachary T. Welch, Adrian Agogino
Traffic management problems provide a unique environment to study how multi-agent systems promote desired system level behavior. In particular, they... Sample PDF
Traffic Congestion Management as a Learning Agent Coordination Problem
Chapter 13
Matteo Vasirani, Sascha Ossowski
The problem of advanced intersection control is being discovered as a promising application field for multiagent technology. In this context... Sample PDF
Exploring the Potential of Multiagent Learning for Autonomous Intersection Control
Chapter 14
Tomohisa Yamashita, Koichi Kurumatani
With maturation of ubiquitous computing technology, it has become feasible to design new systems to improve our urban life. In this chapter, the... Sample PDF
New Approach to Smooth Traffic Flow with Route Information Sharing
Chapter 15
Denise de Oliveira, Ana L.C. Bazzan
In a complex multiagent system, agents may have different partial information about the system’s state and the information held by other agents in... Sample PDF
Multiagent Learning on Traffic Lights Control: Effects of Using Shared Information
Chapter 16
Tamás Máhr, F. Jordan Srour, Mathijs de Weerdt, Rob Zuidwijk
While intermodal freight transport has the potential to introduce efficiency to the transport network,this transport method also suffers from... Sample PDF
The Merit of Agents in Freight Transport
Chapter 17
Lawrence Henesey, Jan A. Persson
In analyzing freight transportation systems, such as the intermodal transport of containers, often direct monetary costs associated with... Sample PDF
Analyzing Transactions Costs in Transport Corridors Using Multi Agent-Based Simulation
Chapter 18
Shawn R. Wolfe, Peter A. Jarvis, Francis Y. Enomoto, Maarten Sierhuis, Bart-Jan van Putten
Today’s air traffic management system is not expected to scale to the projected increase in traffic over the next two decades. Enhancing... Sample PDF
A Multi-Agent Simulation of Collaborative Air Traffic Flow Management
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