Analogue computation of collision-free paths
Tarassenko L., Blake A.
A method for robot path planning that uses a 2-D scalar electric potential subject to Neumann boundary conditions is presented. Obstacles are modeled as nonconducting solids in a conducting medium. The starting point is modeled as a current source and the goal as an equal and opposite current sink. It is shown that this formulation is considerably more powerful than the recent potential-field algorithm of C. I. Connolly et al. (1990), particularly when navigating long, narrow corridors. Feasible paths for navigation are current streamlines, as demonstrated by the results of software simulations in a 2-D euclidean plane. One of the principal advantages of the method is that it can be implemented with parallel analog hardware in the form of a resistive grid. With analog VLSI chips, it will be possible to plan paths for realistic environments in real time.