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Solving the potential field local minimum problem using internal agent states

Abdel Wahid, Mohamed Hussien Mabrouk and McInnes, C.R. (2008) Solving the potential field local minimum problem using internal agent states. Robots and Autonomous Systems, 56 (12). pp. 1050-1060. ISSN 0921-8890

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We propose a new, extended artificial potential field method, which uses dynamic internal agent states. The internal states are modelled as a dynamical system of coupled first order differential equations that manipulate the potential field in which the agent is situated. The internal state dynamics are forced by the interaction of the agent with the external environment. Local equilibria in the potential field are then manipulated by the internal states and transformed from stable equilibria to unstable equilibria, allowiong escape from local minima in the potential field. This new methodology successfully solves reactive path planning problems, such as a complex maze with multiple local minima, which cannot be solved using conventional static potential fields.