Blended Local Planning for Generating Safe and Feasible Paths
Many planning approaches adhere to the two-tiered architecture consisting of a long-range, low fidelity global planner and a short-range high fidelity local planner. While this architecture works well in general, it fails in highly constrained environments where the available paths are limited. These situations amplify mismatches between the global and local plans due to the smaller set of feasible actions. We present an approach that dynamically blends local plans online to match the field of global paths. Our blended local planner generates paths from control commands to ensure the safety of the robot as well as achieve the goal. Blending also results in more complete plans than an equivalent unblended planner when navigating cluttered environments. These properties enable the blended local planner to utilize a smaller control set while achieving more efficient planning time. We demonstrate the advantages of blending in simulation using a kinematic car model navigating through maps containing tunnels, cul-de-sacs, and random obstacles.