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Proceedings Paper

Hierarchical terrain representations for off-road navigation
Author(s): Jay W. Gowdy; Anthony Stentz; Martial Hebert
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Paper Abstract

For most autonomous land vehicle tasks creating the terrain representation is the greatest part of the problem. For example once a road following system represents the terrain presented to it as road and non-road it is relatively easy to plan a path through the terrain. However offroad navigation does not have the luxury of such a compact representation. An off-road planner needs a detailed map of the terrain and needs an efficient way of querying that terrain map. We have implemented a system that satisfies these two constraints for off-road navigation. We first build a Cartesian elevation map from a series oflaser range finder images. This map is a complete but intractable representation of the terrain. We use the map to build a hierarchical representation of the terrain that we call a " terrain pyramid. " Each cell at a level of the terrain pyramid holds the maximum and minimum elevation of the four cells in the level below it. We also build pyramids for various features in the Cartesian map such as terrain discontinuity and slope. The terrain pyramids are shipped to a planner module. We provide the planner module with calls to find the minimum and maximum values of a feature over any rectangle in the terrain. With these calls taking advantage of the hierarchical representation of the terrain the planner can efficiently determine a safe path through the

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 1991
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 1388, Mobile Robots V, (1 March 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.25462
Show Author Affiliations
Jay W. Gowdy, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)
Anthony Stentz, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)
Martial Hebert, Carnegie Mellon Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1388:
Mobile Robots V
Wendell H. Chun; William J. Wolfe, Editor(s)

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