A novel approach to avoid the minima problem in potential fields navigation

Fedele, G., D’Alfonso, L., Chiaravalloti, F. et al., Obstacles Avoidance Based on Switching Potential Functions, J Intell Robot Syst (2018) 90: 387. DOI: 10.1007/s10846-017-0687-2.

In this paper, a novel path planning and obstacles avoidance method for a mobile robot is proposed. This method makes use of a switching strategy between the attractive potential of the target and a new helicoidal potential field which allows to bypass an obstacle by driving the robot around it. The new technique aims at overcoming the local minima problems of the well-known artificial potentials method, caused by the summation of two (or more) potential fields. In fact, in the proposed approach, only a single potential is used at a time. The resulting proposed technique uses only local information and ensures high robustness, in terms of achieved performance and computational complexity, w.r.t. the number of obstacles. Numerical simulations, together with comparisons with existing methods, confirm a very robust behavior of the method, also in the case of a framework with multiple obstacles.

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