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Title: A new approach towards non-holonomic path planning of car-like robots using Rapidly Random Tree Fixed Nodes(RRT*FN)
Author: Spanogianopoulos, Sotirios
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 8355
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2017
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Autonomous car driving is gaining attention in industry and is also an ongoing research in scientific community. Assuming that the cars moving on the road are all autonomous, this thesis introduces an elegant approach to generate non-holonomic collision-free motion of a car connecting any two poses (configurations) set by the user. Particularly this thesis focusses research on "path-planning" of car-like robots in the presence of static obstacles. Path planning of car-like robots can be done using RRT and RRT*. Instead of generating the non-holonomic path between two sampled configurations in RRT, our approach finds a small incremental step towards the next random configuration. Since the incremental step can be in any direction we use RRT to guide the robot from start configuration to end configuration. This "easy-to-implement" mechanism provides flexibility for enabling standard plan- ners to solve for non-holonomic robots without much modifications. Thus, strength of such planners for car path planning can be easily realized. This thesis demon- strates this point by applying this mechanism for an effective variant of RRT called as RRT - Fixed Nodes (RRT*FN). Experiments are conducted by incorporating our mechanism into RRT*FN (termed as RRT*FN-NH) to show the effectiveness and quality of non-holonomic path gener- ated. The experiments are conducted for typical benchmark static environments and the results indicate that RRT*FN-NH is mostly finding the feasible non-holonomic solutions with a fixed number of nodes (satisfying memory requirements) at the cost of increased number of iterations in multiples of 10k. Thus, this thesis proves the applicability of mechanism for a highly constrained planner like RRT*-FN, where the path needs to be found with a fixed number of nodes. Although, comparing the algorithm (RRT*FN-NH) with other existing planners is not the focus of this thesis there are considerable advantages of the mechanism when applied to a planner. They are a) instantaneous non-holonomoic path generation using the strengths of that particular planner, b) ability to modify on-the-fly non-holomic paths, and c) simple to integrate with most of the existing planners. Moreover, applicability of this mechanism using RRT*-FN for non-holonomic path generation of a car is shown for a more realistic urban environments that have typical narrow curved roads. The experiments were done for actual road map obtained from google maps and the feasibility of non-holonomic path generation was shown for such environments. The typical number of iterations needed for finding such feasible solutions were also in multiple of 10k. Increasing speed profiles of the car was tested by limiting max speed and acceleration to see the effect on the number of iterations.
Supervisor: Howells, Gareth ; Sirlantzis, Konstantinos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available