In this paper, we develop an algorithm for corridor navigation and obstacle avoidance using visual potential for visual navigation by an autonomous mobile robot. The robot is equipped with a camera system which dynamically captures the environment. The visual potential is computed from an image sequence and optical flow computed from successive images captured by the camera mounted on the robot. Our robot selects a local pathway using the visual potential observed through its vision system. Our algorithm enables mobile robots to avoid obstacles without any knowledge of a robot workspace. We demonstrate experimental results using image sequences observed with a moving camera in a simulated environment and a real environment. Our algorithm is robust against the fluctuation of displacement caused by mechanical error of the mobile robot, and the fluctuation of planar-region detection caused by a numerical error in the computation of optical flow.
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