An Open-Path Obstacle Avoidance Algorithm Using Scanning Laser Range Data

Report No. ARL-MR-0715
Authors: Raymond Von Wahlde, MAJ Nathan Wiedenman, 1LT Wesley A. Brown, and Cezarina Viqueira
Date/Pages: February 2009; 20 pages
Abstract: The Open-Path Area algorithm described searches a region scanned by a laser range finder for the most open path that will allow a robot of a specified width to move the furthest distance. Range data are mapped into an array space in which the column indices are the beam numbers and the rows are the range values divided into an arbitrary number of bins. The path to be searched is also mapped into this framework. The open-path search algorithm checks each beam index as a potential direction and finds the range bin index at which the path is obstructed. The path areas associated with these indices are calculated only once and stored in a look-up table. The beam index that returns the maximum open path area determines the direction the robot should move. The response of the robot is a fluid motion around obstacles in its path.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2009