Tag Archives: Collision Avoidance

Towards the emergence of obstacle avoidance through collisions

Qian F, Koditschek DE., An obstacle disturbance selection framework: emergent robot steady states under repeated collisions, The International Journal of Robotics Research. 2020;39(13):1549-1566, DOI: 10.1177/0278364920935514.

Natural environments are often filled with obstacles and disturbances. Traditional navigation and planning approaches normally depend on finding a traversable “free space” for robots to avoid unexpected contact or collision. We hypothesize that with a better understanding of the robot–obstacle interactions, these collisions and disturbances can be exploited as opportunities to improve robot locomotion in complex environments. In this article, we propose a novel obstacle disturbance selection (ODS) framework with the aim of allowing robots to actively select disturbances to achieve environment-aided locomotion. Using an empirically characterized relationship between leg–obstacle contact position and robot trajectory deviation, we simplify the representation of the obstacle-filled physical environment to a horizontal-plane disturbance force field. We then treat each robot leg as a “disturbance force selector” for prediction of obstacle-modulated robot dynamics. Combining the two representations provides analytical insights into the effects of gaits on legged traversal in cluttered environments. We illustrate the predictive power of the ODS framework by studying the horizontal-plane dynamics of a quadrupedal robot traversing an array of evenly-spaced cylindrical obstacles with both bounding and trotting gaits. Experiments corroborate numerical simulations that reveal the emergence of a stable equilibrium orientation in the face of repeated obstacle disturbances. The ODS reduction yields closed-form analytical predictions of the equilibrium position for different robot body aspect ratios, gait patterns, and obstacle spacings. We conclude with speculative remarks bearing on the prospects for novel ODS-based gait control schemes for shaping robot navigation in perturbation-rich environments.

An application of MDPs to UAV collision-free navigation with an interesting taxonomy of the state-of-the-art

Xiang Yu1, Xiaobin Zhou2, Youmin Zhang, Collision-Free Trajectory Generation and Tracking for UAVs Using Markov Decision Process in a Cluttered Environment, Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, 2019, 93:17–32 DOI: 10.1007/s10846-018-0802-z.

A collision-free trajectory generation and tracking method capable of re-planning unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) trajectories can increase flight safety and decrease the possibility of mission failures. In this paper, a Markov decision process (MDP) based algorithm combined with backtracking method is presented to create a safe trajectory in the case of hostile environments. Subsequently, a differential flatness method is adopted to smooth the profile of the rerouted trajectory for satisfying the UAV physical constraints. Lastly, a flight controller based on passivity-based control (PBC) is designed to maintain UAV’s stability and trajectory tracking performance. simulation results demonstrate that the UAV with the proposed strategy is capable of avoiding obstacles in a hostile environment.

Socially acceptable collision avoidance

Haoan Wang, Antonio Tota, Bilin Aksun-Guvenc, Levent Guvenc Real time implementation of socially acceptable collision avoidance of a low speed autonomous shuttle using the elastic band method, Mechatronics, Volume 50, 2018, Pages 341-355, DOI: 10.1016/j.mechatronics.2017.11.009.

This paper presents the real time implementation of socially acceptable collision avoidance using the elastic band method for low speed autonomous shuttles operating in high pedestrian density environments. The modeling and validation of the research autonomous vehicle used in the experimental implementation is presented first, followed by the details of the Hardware-In-the-Loop connected and autonomous vehicle simulator used. The socially acceptable collision avoidance algorithm is formulated using the elastic band method as an online, local path modification algorithm. Parameter space based robust feedback plus feedforward steering controller design is used. Model-in-the-loop, Hardware-In-the-Loop and road testing in a proving ground are used to demonstrate the effectiveness of the real time implementation of the elastic band based socially acceptable collision avoidance method of this paper.

A novel motion planning algorithm for robot navigation taking into account the robot kinematic constraints and shape

Muhannad Mujahed, Dirk Fischer, Bärbel Mertsching, Admissible gap navigation: A new collision avoidance approach, Robotics and Autonomous Systems,
Volume 103, 2018, Pages 93-110, DOI: 10.1016/j.robot.2018.02.008.

This paper proposes a new concept, the Admissible Gap (AG), for reactive collision avoidance. A gap is called admissible if it is possible to find a collision-free motion control that guides a robot through it, while respecting the vehicle constraints. By utilizing this concept, a new navigation approach was developed, achieving an outstanding performance in unknown dense environments. Unlike the widely used gap-based methods, our approach directly accounts for the exact shape and kinematics, rather than finding a direction solution and turning it later into a collision-free admissible motion. The key idea is to analyze the structure of obstacles and virtually locate an admissible gap, once traversed, the robot makes progress towards the goal. For this purpose, we introduce a strategy of traversing gaps that respect the kinematic constraints and provides a compromise between path length and motion safety. We also propose a new methodology for extracting gaps that eliminates useless ones, thus reducing oscillations. Experimental results along with performance evaluation demonstrate the outstanding behavior of the proposed AG approach. Furthermore, a comparison with existing state-of-the-art methods shows that the AG approach achieves the best results in terms of efficiency, robustness, safety, and smoothness.