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Proceedings Paper

Finding Out Critical Points For Real-Time Path Planning
Author(s): Wei Chen
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Paper Abstract

Path planning for a mobile robot is a classic topic, but the path planning under real-time environment is a different issue. The system sources including sampling time, processing time, processes communicating time, and memory space are very limited for this type of application. This paper presents a method which abstracts the world representation from the sensory data and makes the decision as to which point will be a potentially critical point to span the world map by using incomplete knowledge about physical world and heuristic rule. Without any previous knowledge or map of the workspace, the robot will determine the world map by roving through the workspace. The computational complexity for building and searching such a map is not more than O( n2 ) The find-path problem is well-known in robotics. Given an object with an initial location and orientation, a goal location and orientation, and a set of obstacles located in space, the problem is to find a continuous path for the object from the initial position to the goal position which avoids collisions with obstacles along the way. There are a lot of methods to find a collision-free path in given environment. Techniques for solving this problem can be classified into three approaches: 1) the configuration space approach [1],[2],[3] which represents the polygonal obstacles by vertices in a graph. The idea is to determine those parts of the free space which a reference point of the moving object can occupy without colliding with any obstacles. A path is then found for the reference point through this truly free space. Dealing with rotations turns out to be a major difficulty with the approach, requiring complex geometric algorithms which are computationally expensive. 2) the direct representation of the free space using basic shape primitives such as convex polygons [4] and overlapping generalized cones [5]. 3) the combination of technique 1 and 2 [6] by which the space is divided into the primary convex region, overlap region and obstacle region, then obstacle boundaries with attribute values are represented by the vertices of the hypergraph. The primary convex region and overlap region are represented by hyperedges, the centroids of overlap form the critical points. The difficulty is generating segment graph and estimating of minimum path width. The all techniques mentioned above need previous knowledge about the world to make path planning and the computational cost is not low. They are not available in an unknow and uncertain environment. Due to limited system resources such as CPU time, memory size and knowledge about the special application in an intelligent system (such as mobile robot), it is necessary to use algorithms that provide the good decision which is feasible with the available resources in real time rather than the best answer that could be achieved in unlimited time with unlimited resources. A real-time path planner should meet following requirements: - Quickly abstract the representation of the world from the sensory data without any previous knowledge about the robot environment. - Easily update the world model to spell out the global-path map and to reflect changes in the robot environment. - Must make a decision of where the robot must go and which direction the range sensor should point to in real time with limited resources. The method presented here assumes that the data from range sensors has been processed by signal process unite. The path planner will guide the scan of range sensor, find critical points, make decision where the robot should go and which point is poten- tial critical point, generate the path map and monitor the robot moves to the given point. The program runs recursively until the goal is reached or the whole workspace is roved through.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 March 1989
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 1007, Mobile Robots III, (10 March 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.949079
Show Author Affiliations
Wei Chen, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1007:
Mobile Robots III
William J. Wolfe, Editor(s)

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