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Real-time obstacle avoidance for fast mobile robots in cluttered environments

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2 Author(s)
Borenstein, J. ; Adv. Technol. Lab., Michigan Univ., Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Koren, Y.

The method described, named the vector field histogram (VFH), permits the detection of unknown obstacles and avoids collisions while simultaneously steering the mobile robot toward the target. A VFH-controlled mobile robot maneuvers quickly and without stopping among densely cluttered obstacles. The VFH method uses a two-dimensional Cartesian histogram grid as a world model. This world model is updated continuously and in real time with range data sampled by the onboard ultrasonic range sensors. Based on the accumulated environmental data, the VFH method then computes a one-dimensional polar histogram that is constructed around the robot's momentary location. Each sector in the polar histogram holds the polar obstacle density in that direction. Finally, the algorithm selects the most suitable sector from among all polar histogram sectors with low obstacle density, and the steering of the robot is aligned with that direction. Experimental results from a mobile robot traversing a densely cluttered obstacle course at an average speed of 0.7 m/s demonstrate the power of the VFH method

Published in:

Robotics and Automation, 1990. Proceedings., 1990 IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

13-18 May 1990