The virtual wall approach to limit cycle avoidance for unmanned ground vehicles.

Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Impact Factor: 1.11). 08/2008; 56:645-657. DOI: 10.1016/j.robot.2007.11.010
Source: DBLP

ABSTRACT Robot Navigation in unknown and very cluttered environments constitutes one of the key challenges in unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) applications. Navigational limit cycles can occur when navigating (UGVs) using behavior-based or other reac- tive algorithms. Limit cycles occur when the robot is navigating towards the goal but enters an enclosure that has its opening in a direction opposite to the goal. The robot then becomes efiectively trapped in the enclosure. This paper presents a solution named the Virtual Wall Approach (VWA) to the limit cycle problem for robot navigation in very cluttered environments. This algorithm is composed of three stages: detection, retraction, and avoidance. The detection stage uses spatial memory to identify the limit cycle. Once the limit cycle has been identifled, a label- ing operator is applied to a local map of the obstacle fleld to identify the obstacle or group of obstacles that are causing the deadlock enclosure. The retraction stage deflnes a way-point for the robot outside the deadlock area. When the robot crosses the boundary of the deadlock enclosure, a virtual wall is placed near the endpoints of the enclosure to designate this area as ofi-limits. Finally, the robot activates a virtual sensor so that it can proceed to its original goal, avoiding the virtual wall and obstacles found on its way. Simulations, experiments, and analysis of the VWA implemented on top of a preference-based fuzzy behavior system demonstrate the efiectiveness of the proposed method.

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