Terrain Exploration by Autonomous Robots
Final rept. Jun 1998-Jul 1999
ARMY RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
Pagination or Media Count:
Terrain exploration with the help of autonomous unmanned ground vehicles can be very cost effective in several military applications, such as mine clearing, decontamination, surveillance, and similar operations. A subtask in autonomous operations is planning the traveling route so that the main goal the exploration of the terrain is achieved in the shortest time, the entire area of interest is covered, and the terrain features that are discovered during the exploration are taken into account in real time. In this report, we propose a solution to the subtask. The solution employs a navigation function that is computed using an algorithm based on Huygens Principle in optics. The proposed solution is an extension of previously reported route-finding methods to predetermined destinations in open terrains. In such terrains, it is necessary to distinguish between terrain in the vicinity of the robot and at farther distances. In the vicinity, the terrain must be carefully examined therefore, a detailed vicinity terrain map is needed. Terrain features at larger distances can be handled by using approximate representations. In this report, two methods for handling open terrain problems are presented a vicinity map method and a telescopic map method. The advantages of each method are discussed and examples illustrate how to use the methods in exploration tasks.
- Surface Transportation and Equipment