Optimal evasive strategies for multiple interacting agents with motion constraints

William Lewis Scott, Naomi Ehrich Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We derive and analyze optimal control strategies for a system of pursuit and evasion with a single speed-limited pursuer, and multiple heterogeneous evaders with limits on speed, angular turning rate, and lateral acceleration. The goal of the pursuer is to capture a single evader in the minimum time possible, and the goal of each evader is to avoid capture if possible, or else delay capture for as long as possible. Optimal strategies are derived for the one-on-one differential game, and these form the basis of strategies for the multiple-evader system. We propose a pursuer strategy of optimal target selection which leads to capture in bounded time. For evaders, we prove how any evader not initially targeted can avoid capture. We also consider optimal strategies for agents with radius-limited sensing capabilities, proving conditions for evader capture avoidance through a local strategy of risk reduction. We show how evaders aggregate in response to a pursuer, much like animals behave in the wild.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-34
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Autonomous mobile robots
  • Decentralized control
  • Differential games
  • Minimum-time control
  • Multi-agent systems
  • Optimal trajectory
  • Pursuit-evasion


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