Optimization of Energy-Aware Path-Planning in Ground Robotics

Open Access
Gruning, Veronica A
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sean N Brennan, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jacqueline Antonia O'Connor, Honors Advisor
  • unmanned ground vehicle
  • robotics
  • path planning
  • energy optimization
This thesis presents an optimized approach to planning energy-aware paths for skid-steer ve- hicles. Specifically, this work expands upon previous models in three ways: (1) this work uses the instantaneous centers of rotation (ICRs) to predict the kinematics and power consumption of a robot’s movement; (2) the power model accounts for the changes in ground surface friction; and (3) the power model includes the effect of elevation changes on the energy usage of the robot. The total power needed to travel to a goal location is then combined with the kinematic model to plan energy-aware paths using a Sampling Based Model Predictive Optimization (SBMPO) al- gorithm. This method is demonstrated using simulated environments that are sampled to create a wide range of testing scenarios representative of real-world usages. The results show situations where a more energy efficient path for skid-steer robots on mixed terrain may occur by increasing the path distance. The results of this project are intended to inform energy consumption models for robotics.