Carnegie Mellon University
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Optimal Sampling In the Space of Paths: Preliminary Results

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journal contribution
posted on 2006-01-01, 00:00 authored by Colin J. Green, Alonzo Kelly

While spatial sampling has received much attention in recent years, our understanding of sampling issues in the function space of trajectories remains limited. This paper presents a structured approach to the selection of a finite control set, derived from the infinite function space of possible controls, which is optimal in some useful sense. We show from first principles that the degree to which trajectories overlap spatially is directly related to the relative completeness that can be expected in sequential motion planning.We define relative completeness to mean the probability, taken over the population of all possible worlds, that at least one trajectory searched will not intersect an obstacle. Likewise, trajectories which are more separated from each other perform better in this regard than the alternatives. A suboptimal algorithm is presented which selects a control set from a dense sampling of the continuum of all possible paths. Results show that this algorithm produces control sets which perform significantly better than constant curvature arcs. The resulting control set has been deployed on an autonomous mobile robot operating in complex terrain in order to respond to situations when the robot is surrounded by a dense obstacle field.


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