Many multiple target tracking algorithms operate in the local frame of the sensor and have difficulty with track reallocation when targets move in and out of the sensor field of view. This poses a problem when an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is tracking multiple ground targets on a road network larger than its field of view. We propose a Rao-Blackwellized Particle Filter (RBPF) to maintain individual target tracks and to perform probabilistic data association when the targets are constrained to a road network. This is particularly useful when a target leaves then re-enters the UAV’s field of view. The RBPF is structured as a particle filter of particle filters. The top level filter handles data association and each of its particles maintains a bank of particle filters to handle target tracking. The tracking particle filters incorporate both positive and negative information when a measurement is received. We implement two path planning controllers, exhaustive receding horizon control (ERHC) and a neural net trained with deep reinforcement learning (Deep-RL), and compare their ability to improve the certainty for multiple target location estimates. The controllers prioritize paths that reduce each target’s entropy. While the ERHC achieved optimal stead-state estimates the DeepRL controller identified more efficient sweeping search patterns when there is limited information regarding target locations. The neural net achieves O(1) computational complexity during decision making but must first be trained on a given map. In addition, we provide a theorem that calculates the lower-bound for the average-entropy of the RBPF. Particle Filter entropy is used as a unit of measurement as it gives a way of accurately comparing the precision of complex multi-modal estimates. This gives a reliable way of establishing the resources needed to accomplish mission objectives as well as providing a reliable method of determining the effectiveness of different multi-agent path planners. Finally we outline results both in simulation and hardware. In simulation we obtained the results for our different path planners over 2000 Monte Carlo runs and show how the different path planners compare and measure up to the lower-bound of average-entropy. The results from a hardware test provide evidence that the ideas presented in this thesis hold true in an end-to-end solution.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Particle Filter, Multi-Target Tracking



Included in

Engineering Commons