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A navigation system is described for a mobile robot equipped with a rotating ultrasonic range sensor. This navigation system is based on a dynamically maintained model of the local environment, called the composite local model. The composite local model integrates information from the rotating range sensor, the robot's touch sensor, and a pre-learned global model as the robot moves through its environment. Techniques are described for constructing a line segment description of the most recent sensor scan (the sensor model), and for integrating such descriptions to build up a model of the immediate environment (the composite local model). The estimated position of the robot is corrected by the difference in position between observed sensor signals and the corresponding symbols in the composite local model. A learning technique is described in which the robot develops a global model and a network of places. The network of places is used in global path planning, while the segments are recalled from the global model to assist in local path execution. This system is useful for navigation in a finite, pre-learned domain such as a house, office, or factory.
Date of Publication: Mar 1985