Navigation research

Whereas originally the term Navigation applies to the process of directing a ship to a destination, Navigation research deals with fundamental aspects of navigation in general. It can be defined as "The process of determining and maintaining a course or trajectory to a goal location" (Franz, Mallot, 2000). It concerns basically all moving agents, biological or artificial, autonomy or remote-controlled.

Franz and Mallot proposed a navigation hierarchy (Robotics and Autonomous Systems 30 (2000), 133-153):

Behavioural prerequisite Navigation competence
Local navigation
Search Goal recognition Finding the goal without active goal orientation
Direction-following Align course with local direction Finding the goal from one direction
Aiming Keep goal in front Finding a salient goal from a catchment area
Guidance Attain spatial relation to the surrounding objects Finding a goal defined by its relation to the surroundings
Recognition-triggered response Association sensory pattern-action Following fixed routes
Topological navigation Route integration, route planning Flexible concatenation of route segments
Survey navigation Embedding into a common reference frame Finding paths over novel terrain

There are two basic methods for navigation:

Robotic navigation

Outdoor robots can use GPS in a similar way to automotive navigation systems. Alternative systems can be used with floor plan instead of maps for indoor robots, combined with localization wireless hardware.

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