It can be argued that the single most important aspect of a robot is its ability to move. Roughly motion is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition. Motion itself is not complicated. Requiring only servos and motors, motion is easily accomplished. The complexity arises through the interaction of the environment. In this chapter we explore how robots move in the plane and navigate around simple landscapes. Although ground robots have to address three dimensional environments, the restriction to the plane simplifies the mathematics and the algorithms allowing us to focus on concepts and not the complexities of the extra dimension.
Motion planning is an entire field of study, we will highlight some aspects here. The solution to the planning problem routes from an initial configuration, start location and pose, to a final configuration, end location and pose or goal.
The basic path planning problem refers determining a path in configuration space such that the robot does not collide with any obstacles and the path is consistent with the vehicle constraints.