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This paper extends the capabilities of the harmonic potential field (HPF) approach to planning. The extension covers the situation where the workspace of a robot cannot be segmented into geometrical subregions where each region has an attribute of its own. The suggested approach uses a task-centered, probabilistic descriptor of the workspace as an input to the planner. This descriptor is processed, along with a goal point, to yield the navigation policy needed to steer the agent from any point in its workspace to the target. The approach is easily adaptable to planning in a cluttered environment containing a vector drift field. The extension of the HPF approach is based on the physical analogy with an electric current flowing in a nonhomogeneous conducting medium. The resulting potential field is known as the gamma-harmonic potential (GHPF). Proofs of the ability of the modified approach to avoid zero-probability (definite threat) regions and to converge to the goal are provided. The capabilities of the planner are demonstrated using simulation.
Aerospace and Electronic Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:48 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: October 2012