Vehicle Motion Planning Using Stream Functions

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Stephen Waydo and Richard M. Murray
2003 International Conference on Robotics and Automation

Borrowing a concept from hydrodynamic analysis, this paper presents stream functions which satisfy Laplace's equation as a local-minima free method for producing potential-field based navigation functions in two dimensions. These functions generate smoother paths (i.e. more suited to aircraft-like vehicles) than previous methods. A method is developed for constructing analytic stream functions to produce arbitrary vehicle behaviors while avoiding obstacles, and an exact solution for the case of a single uniformly moving obstacle is presented. The effects of introducing multiple obstacles are discussed and current work in this direction is detailed. Experimental results generated on the Cornell RoboFlag testbed are presented and discussed.

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