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Published October 1994 | Published
Journal Article Open

A motion planner for nonholonomic mobile robots


This paper considers the problem of motion planning for a car-like robot (i.e., a mobile robot with a nonholonomic constraint whose turning radius is lower-bounded). We present a fast and exact planner for our mobile robot model, based upon recursive subdivision of a collision-free path generated by a lower-level geometric planner that ignores the motion constraints. The resultant trajectory is optimized to give a path that is of near-minimal length in its homotopy class. Our claims of high speed are supported by experimental results for implementations that assume a robot moving amid polygonal obstacles. The completeness and the complexity of the algorithm are proven using an appropriate metric in the configuration space R^2 x S^1 of the robot. This metric is defined by using the length of the shortest paths in the absence of obstacles as the distance between two configurations. We prove that the new induced topology and the classical one are the same. Although we concentrate upon the car-like robot, the generalization of these techniques leads to new theoretical issues involving sub-Riemannian geometry and to practical results for nonholonomic motion planning.

Additional Information

© 1994 IEEE. Manuscript received May 20, 1991; revised September 8, 1992. This work was supported in part by the European Esprit 3 Project PROMotion 6546, Groupement Robots d'lntervention sur Site Planetaire (RISP), and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The cooperative research program between LAAS and ERL was supported by NSF 87-87-19298. The authors would like to thank A. Bellaïche for useful discussions on sub-Riemannian geometry, P. Souères for checking the proofs in the and the anonymous referees for their valuable comments. Finally, the authors thank G. Giralt for discussions that initiated this work.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023