ME Department Seminar: Sertac Karaman (MIT)

11:00 am on Friday, November 16, 2012
Rm 245
Sertac Karaman (MIT) Fundamental Limits of High-speed Motion through Stochastic Environments: Agile autonomous vehicles that can quickly navigate through cluttered environments has long been an objective of robotics research, although very little could have been established in realizing them. Motivated by robotics applications and inspired by hawks’ high-speed flight through dense forests, this work studies the fundamental limits of high-speed motion in a randomly-generated obstacle field that resembles a planar forest environment. First, it is shown that, under mild technical assumptions, the existence of infinite collision-free trajectories through the forest environment exhibits a phase transition. That is, there exists a critical speed such that: (i) on one hand, collision-free flight can not be maintained indefinitely at any super-critical speed; (ii) on the other hand, there exists an infinite collision-free trajectory at any sub-critical speed, almost surely. Second, this study is extended to incorporate limited perception range. In particular, it is shown that, when the speed and the success probability are fixed, the expected length of a collision-free trajectory increases exponentially fast with increasing perception range.