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Planning Smooth and Obstacle-Avoiding B-Spline Paths for Autonomous Mining Vehicles

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5 Author(s)
Berglund, T. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Electr. Eng., Lulea Univ. of Technol., Lulea, Sweden ; Brodnik, A. ; Jonsson, H. ; Staffanson, M.
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We study the problem of automatic generation of smooth and obstacle-avoiding planar paths for efficient guidance of autonomous mining vehicles. Fast traversal of a path is of special interest. We consider fourwheel four-gear articulated vehicles and assume that we have an a priori knowledge of the mine wall environment in the form of polygonal chains. Computing quartic uniform B-spline curves, minimizing curvature variation, staying at least at a proposed safety margin distance from the mine walls, we plan high speed paths. We present a study where our implementations are successfully applied on eight path-planning cases arising from real-world mining data provided by the Swedish mining company Luossavaara-Kiirunavaara AB (LKAB). The results from the study indicate that our proposed methods for computing obstacle-avoiding minimum curvature variation B-splines yield paths that are substantially better than the ones used by LKAB today. Our simulations show that, with an average 32.13%, the new paths are faster to travel along than the paths currently in use. Preliminary results from the production at LKAB show an overall 5%-10% decrease in the total time for an entire mining cycle. Such a cycle includes both traveling, ore loading, and unloading.

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Automation Science and Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 1 )