Level Sets and Stable Manifold Approximations for Perceptually Driven Nonholonomically

This paper addresses problems of robot navigation with nonholonomic motion constraints and perceptual cues arising from onboard visual servoing in partially engineered environments. We focus on a unicycle motion model and a variety of artificial beacon constellations motivated by relevance to the autonomous hexapod, RHex. 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 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 some reasonably general sufficient conditions under which the new procedure guarantees convergence to the goal. Simulations are provided for perceptual models previously introduced by other authors.