Autonomous Coverage Operations In Semi-Structured Outdoor Environments
This paper presents a comprehensive navigation system capable of extended coverage operations in semi-structured environments. By semi-structured, we mean pre-mapped terrain that although locally smooth has potentially large changes in elevation and that is generally free of obstacles. The system has three key capabilities: it is able to track specified paths with high accuracy, detect small obstacles reliably, and plan coverage patterns to completely cover a specified area. These technologies have been combined and implemented on a mobile robot, which has accumulated over 90km of autonomous operation to date. Here we report on the components, the architecture, and experimental results.