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Real-time obstacle avoidance is one of the key issues in successful application of mobile robot systems. Some new real-time obstacle avoidance methods for mobile robots have already been developed and implemented. This paper introduces the developments in this area, and summarizes Potential Field method (PFM) and the Enhanced Vector Field Histogram method (VFH+), which are widely used for autonomous mobile robot obstacle avoidance. After a brief introduction of laser measurement system (LMS), a new radar-based obstacle avoidance method for mobile robots, based on the combination and improvement of PFM and VFH+ method, is presented. This method, named the Vector Polar Histogram method (VPH), uses laser radar to detect obstacles and takes the physical meaning of the vector polar into account, so as to get the best avoidance choice. The new method permits the detection of unknown obstacles and avoids collisions in real time while simultaneously steering the mobile robot towards the target.