On Provably Safe Obstacle Avoidance for Autonomous Robotic Ground Vehicles
Nowadays, robots interact more frequently with a dynamic environment outside limited manufacturing sites and in close proximity with humans. Thus, safety of motion and obstacle avoidance are vital safety features of such robots. We formally study two safety properties of avoiding both stationary and moving obstacles: (i) passive safety, which ensures that no collisions can happen while the robot moves, and (ii) the stronger passive friendly safety in which the robot further maintains sufficient maneuvering distance for obstacles to avoid collision as well. We use hybrid system models and theorem proving techniques that describe and formally verify the robot’s discrete control decisions along with its continuous, physical motion. Moreover, we formally prove that safety can still be guaranteed despite location and actuator uncertainty.