Autonomous Robots

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 349–364 | Cite as

Intensity-based navigation with global guarantees

  • Kamilah Taylor
  • Steven M. LaValle


This article introduces simple, information-feedback plans that guide a robot through an unknown obstacle course using the sensed information from a single intensity source. The framework is similar to the well-known family of bug algorithms; however, our plans require less sensing information than any others. The robot is unable to access precise information regarding position coordinates, angular coordinates, time, or odometry, but is nevertheless able to navigate itself to a goal among unknown piecewise-analytic obstacles in the plane. The only sensor providing real values is an intensity sensor, which measures the signal strength emanating from the goal. The signal intensity function may or may not be symmetric; the main requirement is that the level sets are concentric images of simple closed curves. Convergence analysis and distance bounds are established for the presented plans. Furthermore, they are experimentally demonstrated using a differential drive robot and an infrared beacon.


Pebble Intensity Function Robot Position Contact Sensor Motion Primitive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported in part by the DARPA SToMP Program (DSO HR0011-07-1-002), NSF Grant 0904501 (IIS Robotics), NSF Grant 1035345 (Cyberphysical Systems), and MURI/ONR Grant N00014-09-1-1052. We thank Stephen Bond for helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.LinkedInMountain ViewUSA

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