Date of Award

Fall 12-1994

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

Committee Director

Nageswara S. V. Rao

Committee Member

Larry Wilson

Committee Member

J. Christian Wild

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C65S36


We present a new artificial potential field formulation for resolution complete robot navigation that unifies the purely geometric path planning problem with the lower level force control problem. Our formulation is designed for numerical computation over a massively parallel mesh of processors and is responsive to newly discovered terrain features. It does not suffer from many of the problems commonly associated with potential fields and with adequate resolution provides provably correct, collision free convergence to the goal. In addition, our formulation supports many desirable, practical features required for implementation, such as bounded actuator torques, attainable incremental constructability, realizable computation and wide obstacle clearance. Its presentation here represents the first practicable artificial potential field for resolution complete robot navigation and control in known or unknown terrains.

We provide general, parallel algorithms for constructing numerical artificial potential fields using a massively parallel processor mesh. We have successfully implemented these algorithms in a simulated environment. Illustrations throughout this thesis present our simulation results.


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