An Interactive Planner for Tank Squadron Assaults
A planner has been developed for planning assault tasks for a group of tanks. This planner is
intended for use in training novice commanders and for planning the actions of a group in
simulations. Because the notion of a correct solution varies widely between subject matter experts
and may depend on information unavailable to the planner an interactive approach has been taken.
The resulting system carries out analysis of the terrain to gauge its suitability for the assault and
applies a set of constraints to identify a solution appropriate to the terrain. At any stage the user
may override the automated planning and either select their own preferred solution or alter the
planning parameters to produce solutions more acceptable to their needs. The resulting system can
therefore be used as a fully automated planner, a user assistant, or simply as an input device for
the user’s plan. To achieve this it was necessary to provide graphical output of the results of each
planning stage and to model the progress of planning and the level of authority delegated by the
user for each step.
Computer Generated Forces (CGF) are used in
battlefield simulations for training exercises, as
well as for operational analysis. The use of CGF
reduces the number of human operators required
and so reduces training costs, hence there is a desire
to increase the amount of automation. This requires
a computer to be able to plan complex activities.
However, users of planning systems tend to prefer
those that allow them to influence the planning over
systems which operate as a black-box .
Therefore our work has been to investigate how an
existing fully automated planner can be modified to
produce an interactive, or mixed initiative, planner.
The Broad Agents  system developed between
1994 and 1998 at DERA Malvern in POPLOG
contains an automated planner for tank squadron
assaults . It incorporates terrain reasoning in
order to produce a plan to attack a specifie