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A hybrid-systems approach to potential field navigation for a multi-robot team

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2 Author(s)
Jing Ren ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Western Ontario, London, Ont., Canada ; McIsaac, K.A.

We consider potential field-based cooperative motion planning for a distributed team of semi-autonomous robots. We present a changing navigation function to allow the robots to incorporate new sensor data into their maps of the environment. We choose a Gaussian function to model attractors and a higher-order Gaussian-like function to model obstacles in order to avoid undesired local minima. Using arguments from hybrid systems theory, we show that this changing navigation function can be viewed as a mode-specific team Lyapunov function that stabilizes the system at all times. We. have verified our approach in simulations of a robot team mapping and foraging in an initially unknown environment. The team is able to map the environment, noting the location of all obstacles and attractive objects, then retrieve the attractors and return them to a goal position. Potential field navigation succeeds in this task while avoiding collisions between robots and obstacles as well as collisions among team members.

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 2003. Proceedings. ICRA '03. IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:3 )

Date of Conference:

14-19 Sept. 2003