What is FaSTrack?
FaSTrack is a tool that is used in conjunction with any model-based motion planner to provide safety guarantees while planning and executing trajectories in real time. FaSTrack allows the planner to find trajectories using simple and easily computed planning models; this allows for the planner to operate in real time. To guarantee safety, a tracking error bound is precomputed to provide bounds on the largest deviation possible between the simple planner and the more complicated autonomous system.
The Thorough Explanation
Guaranteed safe real-time motion planning is a difficult challenge, particularly for systems with complicated dynamics, external disturbances (like wind), and a priori unknown environments. Using the reachability techniques developed in our lab, safe motion planning can be accomplished for decomposable and/or low dimensional systems; however even in these situations our techniques can't process safe trajectories for systems of more than about two dimensions in real time. For real life systems like cars, planes, and quadrotors, fast planning is intractable. On the other hand, motion planners like rapidly-exploring random trees (RRT) or model-predictive control (MPC) can plan in real time by using simplified models of system dynamics, which sacrifice guarantees of safety and feasibility. Our tool allows users to implement a fast motion planner for simplified dynamics while maintaining safety by providing a precomputed bound on the maximum possible tracking error between the planner and the autonomous system. This precomputation also results in an optimal control look-up table which provides the optimal control for the autonomous system to pursue the online planner in real time.
We precompute this bound by viewing the problem as a pursuit-evasion game between a planner and a tracker. The planner uses a simplified model of the system that is necessary for fast planning; the tracker uses a model of the true autonomous system. We assume that the tracker is always pursuing the planner; in other words, the autonomous system is always trying to follow the planner. We want to know what the maximum relative distance (i.e. maximum tracking error) could be in the worst case scenario: when the planner is actively attempting to evade the tracker. If we have an upper limit on this bound then we know the maximum tracking error that can occur during the online planning.
To solve this pursuit-evasion game we first find the relative dynamics between the two systems. We then set a cost function as the distance of the tracking system to the planning system. The tracking system will try to minimize this cost/distance, and the planning system will do the opposite. While evolving these optimal trajectories over time, we capture the highest cost that occurs of the time period. If the tracking system can always eventually reach the planning system, this cost converges to a fixed cost for all time. That converged cost is the tracking error bound. For a more thorough explanation of the optimization, please see  in the list of related papers below.
In the online phase, we sense obstacles within a given radius and expand these obstacles by the tracking error bound through minkowski addition. Using these padded obstacles, the planner decides the next desired state. Based on the relative state between the tracker and planner, the optimal control is determined from the look-up table. The autonomous system executes the optimal control, and the process repeats. For more details, please see reference  in the related papers section below.
 Sylvia Herbert*, Mo Chen*, SooJean Han, Somil Bansal, Jaime F. Fisac, and Claire J .Tomlin, "FaSTrack: a Modular Framework for Fast and Guaranteed Safe Motion Planning." IEEE Conference on Decision and Control, 2017 (submitted). cite