Title page for ETD etd-06142007-122956

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Poudel, Om Prakash
Author's Email Address oppoudel@vt.edu
URN etd-06142007-122956
Title Identification of barriers and least cost paths for autonomous vehicle navigation using airborne LIDAR data
Degree Master of Science
Department Geography
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Carstensen, Laurence William Jr. Committee Chair
Campbell, James B. Jr. Committee Member
Reinholtz, Charles F. Committee Member
  • Friction Surface
  • Accumulated Surface
  • Least-cost path
Date of Defense 2007-05-30
Availability restricted
In the past several years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has sponsored two Grand Challenges, races among autonomous ground vehicles in rural environments. These vehicles must follow a course delineated by Global Positioning System waypoints using no human guidance. Airborne LIDAR data and GIS can play a significant role in identifying barriers and least cost paths for such vehicles. Least cost paths minimize the sum of impedance across a surface. Impedance can be measured by steepness of slope, impenetrable barriers such as vegetation and buildings, fence lines and streams, or other factors deemed important to the vehicle’s success at navigating the terrain. This research aims to provide accurate least cost paths for those vehicles using airborne LIDAR data. The concepts of barrier identification and least cost path generation are reviewed and forty-five least cost paths created with their performance compared to corresponding Euclidean paths. The least cost paths were found superior to the corresponding Euclidean paths in terms of impedance as they avoid barriers, follow roads and pass across relatively gentler slopes.
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