11.3 Autonomous Exploring
To make your planning tests more realistic and instructive, try configuring your test area with obstacles in various patterns to simulate such common navigational situations as corridors, doorways, corners, etc. If your test area is a large, clear open space, you might try arranging large cardboard cartons in realistic configurations. Observe how the robot navigates among these obstacles and constructs its map.
To start the robot on autonomous exploration, point your mouse at the button labeled autonomous and click the left mouse button. The autonomous button is a toggle.
Your robot now begins moving about, exploring and mapping its environment. By default, it is using guarded motion and heading toward the nearest unexplored, that is, unmapped, area. Remember, "nearest" area really means nearest reachable area. After all, a tantalizing unmapped area may lie only centimeters away, but behind a wall!
As with goal point planning, uncharted territory is shown in white, while known obstacles are displayed in black.
Remember to click your left mouse button on the control buttons labeled costs and utility to keep up to the minute on the robots decision-making process. Watch as the colored path lines appear.
These experiments will give you a solid, hands-on feel for your robots navigational capabilities, limitations and quirks.
When youre all through with the BeeSoft Planner, point your mouse at the control button labeled quit and press the left mouse button. If youre all done running BeeSoft programs, be sure to shut down the servers by typing
In This Chapter Youve Learned...
...all about the BeeSoft Planner and how your robot uses planning to perform globally optimal navigation. Youve seen how this software enables your robot to compute the relative costs of traversing specific paths as it heads towards a goal point youve set for it. Youve been introduced to the concepts of reachability, autonomous travel, and goal points.
Youve also seen how your robot can explore its world autonomously, consistently heading for, and exploring, the nearest unexplored territory.