Motion planning; the potential field method.
Report 95.3.LT.4545, Transport Technology, Logistic Engineering.
Motion planning is planning the motion of an object - a robot for example -
through a area filled with obstacles. Many algorithms have been designed to do
this, each varying in complexity and applicability. One of these algorithms is
the potential field method, especially appraised for it's property of avoiding
the obstacles at a maximum distance.
An object, a point or a more complex form, is expected to manoeuvre in an
environment where the obstacles have been predefined. Different requirements can
be made: shortest route, collision avoidance or speed of calculation.
The potential field is made up of repulsion forces by the obstacles,
inversely proportional to the distance to the object, and a goal
attraction and start repulsion force. The object experiences these forces
and is 'pushed' and 'pulled' from its starting point to its goal. These
potential values of a two dimensional problem can be visualized as a
landscape where high potential areas are drawn as hills and the goal is
the lowest valley. The object can be seen as a ball 'rolling' down the
landscape towards its destination.
This program is written in Visual Basic in order to provide extra
user-friendliness. It has been compiled into an executabie file which can
be started from the Windows-shell. An easy to use editor is also provided
so that the user can enter any obstacle configuration he wishes.
Reports on Logistic Engineering (in Dutch)
, TU Delft