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Proceedings Paper

Tracked robot controllers for climbing obstacles autonomously
Author(s): Isabelle Vincent
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Paper Abstract

Research in mobile robot navigation has demonstrated some success in navigating flat indoor environments while avoiding obstacles. However, the challenge of analyzing complex environments to climb obstacles autonomously has had very little success due to the complexity of the task. Unmanned ground vehicles currently exhibit simple autonomous behaviours compared to the human ability to move in the world. This paper presents the control algorithms designed for a tracked mobile robot to autonomously climb obstacles by varying its tracks configuration. Two control algorithms are proposed to solve the autonomous locomotion problem for climbing obstacles. First, a reactive controller evaluates the appropriate geometric configuration based on terrain and vehicle geometric considerations. Then, a reinforcement learning algorithm finds alternative solutions when the reactive controller gets stuck while climbing an obstacle. The methodology combines reactivity to learning. The controllers have been demonstrated in box and stair climbing simulations. The experiments illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach for crossing obstacles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 April 2009
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7332, Unmanned Systems Technology XI, 73321E (30 April 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.814743
Show Author Affiliations
Isabelle Vincent, Defence R&D Canada (Canada)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7332:
Unmanned Systems Technology XI
Grant R. Gerhart; Douglas W. Gage; Charles M. Shoemaker, Editor(s)

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