Efficient navigation of autonomous carriers

  • US 7,206,677 B2
  • Filed: 03/13/2002
  • Issued: 04/17/2007
  • Est. Priority Date: 03/15/2001
  • Status: Active Grant
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First Claim
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1. A method of navigating an autonomous carrier for the purpose of executing a selected procedure at more than one location on a field of operation, the autonomous carrier being equipped to execute that procedure, comprising the steps of providing an indication of the locations at which it is desired to execute the procedure, determining which of the locations can be preferentially accessed by the carrier from its existing position based on a defined criterion, directing the carrier from its existing position to that location, or, if more than one location can be equally preferentially accessed, to a predetermined one of those locations, executing the selected procedure at the directed location, providing an indication of the remaining locations at which the procedure is to be executed, performing the determining, directing and executing steps based on these remaining locations and the position of the carrier and, thereafter, continuing to perform, seriatim, these same steps until the selected procedure has been executed at all desired locations,wherein the step of providing an indication of the locations at which it is desired to execute the procedure is accomplished by subdividing the field of operation into a two-dimensional grid of equal-sided cells and distinguishing those cells on the basis of cells in which the procedure is to be executed, cells in which the procedure is not to be executed, and cells which contain an obstacle, and, following the execution of the procedure in a particular cell, changing the designation of the cell to a cell in which the procedure is not to be executed, andwherein the defined criterion comprises the determination of the least cost of energy required for the carrier to access a cell at which it is desired to execute the procedure.

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