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Planning the Motions of a Mobile Robot in a Sensory Uncertainty Field
October 1994 (vol. 16 no. 10)
pp. 1002-1017

Failures in mobile robot navigation are often caused by errors in localizing the robot relative to its environment. This paper explores the idea that these errors can be considerably reduced by planning paths taking the robot through positions where pertinent features of the environment can be sensed. It introduces the notion of a "sensory uncertainty field" (SUF). For every possible robot configuration q, this field estimates the distribution of possible errors in the robot configuration that would be computed by a localization function matching the data given by the sensors against an environment model, if the robot was at q. A planner is proposed which uses a precomputed SUF to generate paths that minimize expected errors or any other criterion combining, say, path length and errors. This paper describes in detail the computation of a specific SUF for a mobile robot equipped with a classical line-striping camera/laser range sensor. It presents an implemented SUF-based motion planner for this robot and shows paths generated by this planner. Navigation experiments were conducted with mobile robots using paths generated by the SUF-based planner and other paths. The former paths were tracked with greater precision than the others. The final section of the paper discusses additional research issues related to SUF-based planning.

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Index Terms:
mobile robots; path planning; computerised navigation; laser ranging; mobile robot; sensory uncertainty field; navigation; robot configuration; localization function; environment model; path length; classical line-striping camera/laser range sensor; motion planner
Citation:
H. Takeda, C. Facchinetti, J.C. Latombe, "Planning the Motions of a Mobile Robot in a Sensory Uncertainty Field," IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, vol. 16, no. 10, pp. 1002-1017, Oct. 1994, doi:10.1109/34.329009
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