Moving Targets Protection

Protecting ferries with escorts and protecting refugee supply lines involve moving targets with known daily schedules. How can we schedule mobile patrolling resources to protect these targets from potential attacks?

SC Faculty and Researchers

Fei Fang

This project focuses on designing patrol strategies to protect the ferries that are moving between terminals with fixed schedules. Packed with hundreds of passengers, these may present attractive targets to attack (e.g., with a small boat packed with explosives that may be only detected once it gets close to the ferry). Small, fast patrol boats can provide protection to such ferries, but there are often limited numbers of patrol boats, i.e., they cannot protect the ferries at all times at all locations.

I propose a new game model for this problem with a discretized strategy space for the defender and a continuous strategy space for the attacker, and provided an efficient linear program-based solution that uses a compact representation for the defender's mixed strategy, while accurately modeling the attacker's continuous strategy using a novel sub-interval analysis method. I also propose heuristic methods of equilibrium refinement for improved robustness. This work has been deployed by the US Coast Guard for protecting the Staten Island Ferry in New York City since 2013 and fundamentally altering previously used tactics.

Watch this short video to see a ferry patrol in action.

Project Publications

Optimal Patrol Strategy for Protecting Moving Targets with Multiple Mobile Resources. Fei Fang, Albert Xin Jiang, Milind Tambe. International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS)  

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