Clothoids for Robotics (CLO4ROB)

Funding type: unibz internal funds (RTD 2021)

Duration: 01/07/2021 – 30/06/2023


A new frontier of research in path planning is the selection of motion primitives, that besides satisfyingthe standard request of connecting two or more waypoints with the usual requirements, improve the qualityof the path. A traditional and consolidated solution of planning problems is represented by polynomialinterpolation and smoothing, which ensure a very high degree of continuity, but lack other quality factorsthat are important in modern applications like connections characterised by reduced lateral acceleration andjerk. Also, the curve parametrised by arc length offers a more intuitive mapping between the real worldand the path description. All these properties impact on the overall quality of the produced path, and, inturn, this impacts on how the vehicle follows the path: a smoother curve gives higher comfort to the passen-gers and reduces the solicitation of the mechanical components of the vehicle. These comfort concepts arenaturally related to the jerk and the lateral accelerations, whose geometrical counterparts are curvature andsharpness. Recently, the planning community has been considering 2D spiral curves as good candidates toreplace polynomials in the plane, in particular clothoid spiral curves, which possess all the aforementioneddesired properties and a few more.Thus, in this project we aim for(i)further studying this family of curves, giving an important contributionto the field by extending the concept of planar clothoids to 3D,(ii)applying the theoretical framework toa robotic platform,(iii)consolidating and disseminating existing results by means of a book and a MatlabToolbox, the publication of papers and participation to conferences. The latter is an open problem thatwould have an important impact in many engineering applications, from path planning to mechanical mod-elling, but also in other fields, like biomechanics (e.g., planar clothoids have been used to model bloodvessels) or computer graphics (clothoids are renowned to be among the most eye-pleasing curves).The proposed research is highly multidisciplinary and requires the integration of knowledge from fields likeautomation, planning, applied mathematics, computer science, computer-aided design. Application fieldsare even broader.

Photography: credits NOI Techpark/Daniele Fiorentino