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Sensor-based, time-critical mobility of autonomous robots in cluttered spaces: a harmonic potential approach

  • Ahmad A. Masoud (a1) and Ali Al-Shaikhi (a1)

This paper suggests an integrated navigation system for an unmanned ground vehicle operating in an unknown cluttered environment. The navigator supports time-critical mobility making it possible for a mobile robot to reach a target from the first attempt without the need for a dedicated exploration and mapping stage. The robot only uses necessary and sufficient egocentric local sensory data collected on its way to the target. The construction of the navigation structure revolves around key properties of the harmonic potential field approach to motion planning. The robot's trajectory is well-behaved and direct-to-the-goal. It contains only the minimum number of detours necessary to accommodate the sensory data and maintain the robot in a safe, goal-oriented state. The navigation structure is developed and its theoretical basis is explained. Extensive experimental validation of its properties and performance is carried-out using the X80 robotic platform.

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