Improved Fast Replanning for Robot Navigation in Unknown Terrain
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Mobile robots often operate in domains that are only incompletely known, for example, when they have to move from given start coordinates to given goal coordinates in unknown terrain. In this case, they need to be able to replan quickly as their knowledge of the terrain changes. Stentz’ Focussed Dynamic A* is a heuristic search method that repeatedly determines a shortest path from the current robot coordinates to the goal coordinates while the robot moves along the path. It is able to replan one to two orders of magnitudes faster than planning from scratch since it modifies previous search results locally. Consequently, it has been extensively used in mobile robotics. In this paper, we introduce an alternative to Focussed Dynamic A* that implements the same navigation strategy but is algorithmically different. Focussed Dynamic A* Lite is simpler, easier to understand, easier to analyze and easier to extend than Focussed Dynamic A*, yet is more efficient. We believe that our results will make D*-like replanning algorithms even more popular and enable robotics researchers to adapt them to additional applications.