Accumulated Surfaces & Least-Cost Paths: GIS Modeling for Autonomous Ground Vehicle (AGV) Navigation


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Virginia Tech


The Geographic Information System (GIS) is a crucial part of any land navigation system. Autonomous ground vehicles should have access to stored geographic data and the ability to manipulate it for routing purposes. Since there is no human interaction involved in operating these vehicles, data that a human driver would use to make decisions must be stored in the GIS. The data which represent the earth's surface become a series of factors and constraints which translate to friction in terms of mobility. Factors need to be weighted appropriately, but require a sensitivity analysis before designating these weights. Constraints do not require any weight because they represent absolute barriers which cannot be traveled upon. All GIS layers are incorporated into the raster environment, so that an accumulated surfaces can be built on which a least-cost path can be located. The sensitivity analysis allows generation of many routes which can be field tested for the appropriate weight selection for each factor. Ultimately, the entire process would select an optimal path and output closely spaced waypoints which the vehicle can follow.



Autonomous, Cost or Accumulated Surfaces, Least-Cost Paths, GIS