Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 69–98

An Information Roadmap Method for Robotic Sensor Path Planning

Open Access

DOI: 10.1007/s10846-009-9318-x

Cite this article as:
Zhang, G., Ferrari, S. & Qian, M. J Intell Robot Syst (2009) 56: 69. doi:10.1007/s10846-009-9318-x


A new probabilistic roadmap method is presented for planning the path of a robotic sensor deployed in order to classify multiple fixed targets located in an obstacle-populated workspace. Existing roadmap methods have been successful at planning a robot path for the purpose of moving from an initial to a final configuration in a workspace by a minimum distance. But they are not directly applicable to robots whose primary objective is to gather target information with an on-board sensor. In this paper, a novel information roadmap method is developed in which obstacles, targets, sensor’s platform and field-of-view are represented as closed and bounded subsets of an Euclidean workspace. The information roadmap is sampled from a normalized information theoretic function that favors samples with a high expected value of information in configuration space. The method is applied to a landmine classification problem to plan the path of a robotic ground-penetrating radar, based on prior remote measurements and other geospatial data. Experiments show that paths obtained from the information roadmap exhibit a classification efficiency several times higher than that of existing search strategies. Also, the information roadmap can be used to deploy non-overpass capable robots that must avoid targets as well as obstacles.


Information-driven sensor planning Path planning Robot sensing Sensor fusion Probabilistic roadmap methods Demining Information entropy 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials ScienceDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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