L. Cohen, T. Uras and S. Koenig. Feasibility Study: Using Highways for Bounded-Suboptimal Multi-Agent Path Finding. In Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS), pages 2-8, 2015.

Abstract: Multi-agent path-finding (MAPF) is important for applications such as the kind of warehousing done by Kiva systems. Solving the problem optimally is NP-hard, yet finding low-cost solutions is important. Bounded-suboptimal MAPF algorithms, such as enhanced conflict-based search (ECBS), often do not perform well in warehousing domains with many agents. We therefore develop bounded-suboptimal MAPF algorithms, called CBS+HWY and ECBS+HWY, that exploit the problem structure of a given MAPF instance by finding paths for the agents that include edges from user-provided highways, which encourages a global behavior of the agents that avoids collisions. On the theoretical side, we develop a simple approach that uses highways for MAPF and provides suboptimality guarantees. On the experimental side, we demonstrate that ECBS+HWY can decrease the runtimes and solution costs of ECBS in Kiva-like domains with many agents if the highways capture the problem structures well.

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