Optimal navigation of ground vehicles in an off-road setting is a challenging task. One must accurately model the properties of the terrain and reconcile it with vehicle capabilities, while simultaneously addressing mission requirements. An important part of navigation is path planning, the selection of the route a vehicle takes between the start and end points. It is often seen that, given the starting and end points for a vehicle, the optimal path that the vehicle should take varies considerably with the mission requirements. While most commonly used algorithms use a local cost function, mission requirements are typically defined over the entire run of the vehicle. Utility theoretic methods provide a normative tool to model tradeoffs over attributes (mission requirements) that the operator cares about. It is critical therefore, that preferences embedded in the utility function influence the local cost functions used. In this paper, we provide a framework for a feedback-based method to update the parameters of the local cost-function. We do so by using a geodesic-based method for path planning given the terrain inputs, followed by a physics-based simulation of a vehicle to evaluate the attributes. These attributes are then combined into a multiattribute utility function. An optimization-based approach is used to find the parameters of the cost function that maximizes this multiattribute utility. We present our approach on a vehicle navigation example over a terrain acquired from United States Geological Survey data.

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