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Technical Report

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Technical Report Number



Autonomous mobile agent navigation is crucial to many mis-sion-critical applications (e.g., search and rescue missions in a disaster area). In this paper, we present how sensor net-works may assist probabilistic roadmap methods (PRMs), a class of efficient navigation algorithms particularly suit-able for dynamic environments. A key challenge of apply-ing PRM algorithms in dynamic environment is that they re-quire the spatiotemporal sensing of the environment to solve a given navigation problem. To facilitate navigation, we propose a set of query strategies that allow a mobile agent to periodically collect real-time information (e.g., fire con-ditions) about the environment through a sensor network. Such strategies include local spatiotemporal query (query of spatial neighborhood), global spatiotemporal query (query of all sensors), and border query (query of the border of danger fields). We investigate the impact of different query strategies through simulations under a set of realistic fire conditions. Our results demonstrate that (1) spatiotemporal queries from a sensor network result in significantly better navigation performance than traditional approaches based on on-board sensors of a robot, (2) the area of local queries represent a tradeoff between communication cost and navi-gation performance, (3) through in-network processing our border query strategy achieves the best navigation perfor-mance at a small fraction of communication cost compared to global spatiotemporal queries.


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