Departmental Papers (ESE)

Streaming Media

Media is loading


We propose a new paradigm for reactive wallfollowing by a planar robot taking the form of an actively steered sensor model that augments the robot’s motion dynamics. We postulate a foveated sensor capable of delivering third-order infinitesimal (range, tangent, and curvature) data at a point along a wall (modeled as an unknown smooth plane curve) specified by the angle of the ray from the robot’s body that first intersects it. We develop feedback policies for the coupled (point or unicycle) sensorimotor system that drive the sensor’s foveal angle as a function of the instantaneous infinitesimal data, in accord with the trade-off between a desired standoff and progress-rate as the wall’s curvature varies unpredictably in the manner of an unmodeled noise signal. We prove that in any neighborhood within which the thirdorder infinitesimal data accurately predicts the local “shape” of the wall, neither robot will ever hit it. We empirically demonstrate with comparative physical studies that the new active sensor management strategy yields superior average tracking performance and avoids catastrophic collisions or wall losses relative to the passive sensor variant.

This work was supported by AFOSR MURI FA9550–10–1−0567.

For further information, visit Kod*lab.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Subject Area

GRASP, Kodlab

Date of this Version



Copyright 2013 IEEE.

This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission

of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the

University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal

use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.

@inproceedings{paper:de_wall_following_2013, author = {Avik De and D E Koditschek}, title = {Toward Dynamical Sensor Management for Reactive Wall-following}, booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE Intl. Conference on Robotics and Automation}, month = {May}, year = {2013} }
yet to appear on publisher's website



Date Posted: 06 August 2013

This document has been peer reviewed.