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C-Space Characterization of Contact Preserving Paths with Application to Tactile-Sensor Based Mobile Robot Navigation


Speaker: Elon Rimon, Technion
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Wed, Jul 9 2008, 4:10PM

This talk considers the problem of navigating a three-degrees-of-freedom mobile robot equipped with position and tactile sensors in an unknown planar environment. The talk focuses on the contact preserving segments of the robot's path. Any contact preserving path in a planar environment can involve single-contact or two-contact tracings. We establish that motions involving two simultaneous contacts induce two types of configuration-space curves: contractible loops representing passable gaps, and non-contractible loops representing impassable gaps. Based on this characterization, we identify a generic class of contact preserving paths which require only single-contact tracings with efficient transitions at double-contact configurations involving impassable gaps, and at triple-contact configurations involving both passable and impassable gaps. A preliminary tactile-sensor navigation algorithm based on these paths is illustrated with an example.