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Updating Distance Maps When Objects Move

Boult, Terrance E.

Using a discrete distance transform one can quickly build a map of the distance from a goal to every point in a digital map. Using this map, one can easily solve the shortest path problem from any point by simply following the gradient of the distance map. This technique can be used in any number of dimensions and can incorporate obstacles of arbitrary shape (represented in the digital map) including pseudo-obstacles caused by unattainable configurations of a robotic system. This paper further extends the usefulness of the digital distance transform technique by providing an efficient means for dealing with objects which undergo motion. In particular, an algorithm is presented that allows one to update only those portions of the distance map that will potentially change as an object moves. The technique is based on an analysis of the distance transform as a problem in wave propagation. The regions that must be checked for possible update when an object moves are those that are in its "shadow~, or in the shadow of objects that are partially in the shadow of the moving object. The technique can handle multiple goals, and multiple objects moving and interacting in an arbitrary fashion. The algorithm is demonstrated on a number of synthetic two dimensional examples.

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Publisher
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Series
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-290-87
Published Here
December 2, 2011
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