Real-Time Assessment of Terrain Traversability for Autonomous Rover Navigation
Howard, Ayanna M.
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This paper presents a novel technique for real-time measurement of terrain characteristics and incorporation of this information into the navigation strategy of an autonomous mobile robot. The proposed methodology utilizes a fuzzy logic framework for on-board analysis of terrain traversability, and develops a set of fuzzy navigation rules that guide the rover toward the safest and the most traversable terrain. In addition, a simple goal-seeking behavior is used to drive the rover from its initial position to a user-specified goal position. The overall navigation strategy, consisting of terrain-traverse and goal-seeking behaviors, requires no a priori information about the environment, and uses the on-board traversability analysis to enable the rover to select easy-to-traverse paths to the goal autonomously. The terrain traversability navigation rules are tested and validated with a set of physical rover experiments. These experiments demonstrate the real-time capability of the terrain assessment and fuzzy navigation algorithms.