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Optimisation-based verification process of obstacle avoidance systems for unicycle-like mobile robots


This paper presents an optimisation-based verification process for obstacle avoidance systems of a unicycle-like mobile robot. It is a novel approach for the collision avoidance verification process. Local and global optimisation based verification processes are developed to find the worst-case parameters and the worst-case distance between the robot and an obstacle. The kinematic and dynamic model of the unicycle-like mobile robot is first introduced with force and torque as the inputs. The design of the control system is split into two parts. One is velocity and rotation using the robot dynamics, and the other is the incremental motion planning for robot kinematics. The artificial potential field method is chosen as a path planning and obstacle avoidance candidate technique for verification study as it is simple and widely used. Different optimisation algorithms are applied and compared for the purpose of verification. It is shown that even for a simple case study where only mass and inertia variations are considered, a local optimization based verification method may fail to identify the worst case. Two global optimisation methods have been investigated: genetic algorithms (GAs) and GLOBAL algorithms. Both of these methods successfully find the worst case. The verification process confirms that the obstacle avoidance algorithm functions correctly in the presence of all the possible parameter variations.

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Correspondence to Sivaranjini Srikanthakumar.

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Sivaranjini Srikanthakumar received her B.Eng. in computer systems engineering from Electronics and Electrical Engineering Department, Loughborough University, UK in 2007. She is currently a Ph. D. candidate in the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering at Loughborough University, UK.

Her research interests include autonomous vehicles verification, optimisation-based clearance process, collision avoidance algorithm, path planning, global optimisation methods, and flight control laws.

Wen-Hua Chen received the M. Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Automatic Control at Northeast University, PRC in 1989 and 1991, respectively. From 1991 to 1996, he was a lecturer in the Department of Automatic Control at Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, PRC. He held a research position and then a lectureship in control engineering at the Center for Systems and Control at University of Glasgow, UK from 1997 to 2000. He currently holds a senior lectureship in flight control systems in the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering at Loughborough University, UK.

His research interests include the development of advanced control strategies and their applications in aerospace engineering.

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Srikanthakumar, S., Chen, WH. Optimisation-based verification process of obstacle avoidance systems for unicycle-like mobile robots. Int. J. Autom. Comput. 8, 340 (2011).

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  • Verification process
  • obstacle avoidance
  • unicycle mobile robot
  • potential field method
  • optimisation