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This paper defines and analyzes a simple robot with local sensors that moves in an unknown polygonal environment. The robot can execute wall-following motions and can traverse the interior of the environment only when following parallel to an edge. The robot has no global sensors that would allow precise mapping or localization. Special information spaces are introduced for this particular model. Using these, strategies are presented to solve several tasks: 1) counting vertices, 2) computing the path winding number, 3) learning a combinatorial map, which is called the cut ordering, that encodes partial geometric information, and 4) solving pursuit-evasion problems.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2011