Departmental Papers (ESE)


This paper addresses problems of robot navigation with nonholonomic motion constraints and perceptual cues arising from onboard visual servoing in partially engineered environments. We propose a general hybrid procedure that adapts to the constrained motion setting the standard feedback controller arising from a navigation function in the fully actuated case. This is accomplished by switching back and forth between moving "down" and "across" the associated gradient field toward the stable manifold it induces in the constrained dynamics. Guaranteed to avoid obstacles in all cases, we provide conditions under which the new procedure brings initial configurations to within an arbitrarily small neighborhood of the goal.

We summarize simulation results on a sample of visual servoing problems with a few different perceptual models. We document the empirical effectiveness of the proposed algorithm by reporting the results of its application to outdoor autonomous visual registration experiments with the robot RHex guided by engineered beacons.

Document Type

Journal Article

Subject Area

GRASP, Kodlab

Date of this Version

July 2007


Postprint version. Published in International Journal of Robotics Research, Volume 26, Issue 7, July 2007, pages 715-736.
Publisher URL:


visual servoing, level sets, robotics, nonholonomic, navigation



Date Posted: 29 August 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.