Behavior-Based Robot Navigation on Challenging Terrain: A Fuzzy Logic Approach
Howard, Ayanna M.
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This paper presents a new strategy for behavior-based navigation of field mobile robots on challenging terrain, using a fuzzy logic approach and a novel measure of terrain traversability. A key feature of the proposed approach is real-time assessment of terrain characteristics and incorporation of this information in the robot navigation strategy. Three terrain characteristics that strongly affect its traversability, namely, roughness, slope, and discontinuity, are extracted from video images obtained by on-board cameras. This traversability data is used to infer, in real time, the terrain Fuzzy Rule-Based Traversability Index, which succinctly quantifies the ease of traversal of the regional terrain by the mobile robot. A new traverse-terrain behavior is introduced that uses the regional traversability index to guide the robot to the safest and the most traversable terrain region. The regional traverse-terrain behavior is complemented by two other behaviors, local avoid-obstacle and global seek-goal. The recommendations of these three behaviors are integrated through adjustable weighting factors to generate the final motion command for the robot. The weighting factors are adjusted automatically, based on the situational context of the robot. The terrain assessment and robot navigation algorithms Are implemented on a Pioneer commercial robot and field-test studies are conducted. These studies demonstrate that the robot possesses intelligent decision-making capabilities that are brought to bear in negotiating hazardous terrain conditions during the robot motion.