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Comparative Analysis of Control Barrier Functions and Artificial Potential Fields for Obstacle Avoidance

Singletary, Andrew and Klingebiel, Karl and Bourne, Joseph and Browning, Andrew and Tokumaru, Phil and Ames, Aaron (2020) Comparative Analysis of Control Barrier Functions and Artificial Potential Fields for Obstacle Avoidance. . (Unpublished)

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Artificial potential fields (APFs) and their variants have been a staple for collision avoidance of mobile robots and manipulators for almost 40 years. Its model-independent nature, ease of implementation, and real-time performance have played a large role in its continued success over the years. Control barrier functions (CBFs), on the other hand, are a more recent development, commonly used to guarantee safety for nonlinear systems in real-time in the form of a filter on a nominal controller. In this paper, we address the connections between APFs and CBFs. At a theoretic level, we prove that APFs are a special case of CBFs: given a APF one obtains a CBFs, while the converse is not true. Additionally, we prove that CBFs obtained from APFs have additional beneficial properties and can be applied to nonlinear systems. Practically, we compare the performance of APFs and CBFs in the context of obstacle avoidance on simple illustrative examples and for a quadrotor, both in simulation and on hardware using onboard sensing. These comparisons demonstrate that CBFs outperform APFs.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Singletary, Andrew0000-0001-6635-4256
Ames, Aaron0000-0003-0848-3177
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201109-140932047
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106548
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:09 Nov 2020 23:46
Last Modified:02 Jun 2023 01:12

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