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We present the successful application of reconfigurable Analog-Very-Large-Scale-Integrated (AVLSI) circuits to motion planning for the AmigoBot robot. Previous research has shown that custom application-specific-integrated-circuits (ASICs) can be used for robot path planning. However, ASICs are typically fixed circuit designs that require long fabrication times on the order of months. In contrast, our reconfigurable analog circuits called Field Programmable Analog Arrays (FPAAs) implement a variety of AVLSI circuits in minutes. We present experimental results of online robot path planning using FPAA circuitry, validating our assertion that FPAA-based AVLSI design is a feasible approach to computing complete motion plans using analog floating-gate resistive grids. We demonstrate the integration of FPAA hardware and software with a real robot platform and hardware in the loop simulations, present the trajectories developed by our planner and provide analysis of the time and space complexity of our proposed approach. The paper concludes by formulating metrics that identify domains where analog solutions to planning may be faster and more efficient than traditional, digital robot planning techniques.
Date of Conference: 14-18 May 2012