Arc Path Collision Avoidance Algorithm for Autonomous Ground Vehicles

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Virginia Tech

Presented in this thesis is a collision avoidance algorithm designed around an arc path model. The algorithm was designed for use on Virginia Tech robots entered in the 2003 and 2004 Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition (IGVC) and on our 2004 entry into the DARPA Grand Challenge. The arc path model was used because of the simplicity of the calculations and because it can accurately represent the base kinematics for Ackerman or differentially steered vehicles.

Clothoid curves have been used in the past to create smooth paths with continuously varying curvature, but clothoids are computationally intensive. The circular arc algorithm proposed here is designed with simplicity and versatility in mind. It is readily adaptable to ground vehicles of any size and shape. The algorithm is also designed to run with minimal tuning. The algorithm can be used as a stand alone reactive collision avoidance algorithm in simple scenarios, but it can be better optimized for speed and safety when guided by a global path planner. A complete navigation architecture is presented as an example of how obstacle avoidance can be incorporated in the algorithm.

unmanned, collision avoidance, obstacle avoidance, autonomous, path planning