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This paper presents a modified pulse-coupled neural network (MPCNN) model for real-time collision-free path planning of mobile robots in nonstationary environments. The proposed neural network for robots is topologically organized with only local lateral connections among neurons. It works in dynamic environments and requires no prior knowledge of target or barrier movements. The target neuron fires first, and then the firing event spreads out, through the lateral connections among the neurons, like the propagation of a wave. Obstacles have no connections to their neighbors. Each neuron records its parent, that is, the neighbor that caused it to fire. The real-time optimal path is then the sequence of parents from the robot to the target. In a static case where the barriers and targets are stationary, this paper proves that the generated wave in the network spreads outward with travel times proportional to the linking strength among neurons. Thus, the generated path is always the global shortest path from the robot to the target. In addition, each neuron in the proposed model can propagate a firing event to its neighboring neuron without any comparing computations. The proposed model is applied to generate collision-free paths for a mobile robot to solve a maze-type problem, to circumvent concave U-shaped obstacles, and to track a moving target in an environment with varying obstacles. The effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed approach is demonstrated through simulation and comparison studies.