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This paper presents a new approach to search for a gas/odor source using an autonomous mobile robot. The robot is equipped with a CMOS camera, gas sensors, and airflow sensors. When no gas is present, the robot looks for a salient object in the camera image. The robot approaches any object found in the field of view, and checks it with the gas sensors to see if the object is releasing gas. On the other hand, if the robot detects the presence of gas while wandering around the area, it turns toward the direction of the wind that carries the gas. The robot then looks for any visible object in that direction. These navigation strategies are implemented into the robot under the framework of the behavior-based subsumption architecture. Experimental results on the search for a leaking bottle in an indoor environment are presented to demonstrate the validity of the navigation strategies.
Date of Conference: 28 Sept.-2 Oct. 2004