Path planning for autonomous underwater vehicles

Clément Pêtrès, Yan Pailhas, Pedro Patrón, Yvan Petillot, Jonathan Evans, David Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

356 Citations (Scopus)


Efficient path-planning algorithms are a crucial issue for modern autonomous underwater vehicles. Classical path-planning algorithms in artificial intelligence are not designed to deal with wide continuous environments prone to currents. We present a novel Fast Marching (FM)-based approach to address the following issues. First, we develop an algorithm we call FM* to efficiently extract a 2-D continuous path from a discrete representation of the environment. Second, we take underwater currents into account thanks to an anisotropic extension of the original FM algorithm. Third, the vehicle turning radius is introduced as a constraint on the optimal path curvature for both isotropic and anisotropic media. Finally, a multiresolution method is introduced to speed up the overall path-planning process. © 2007 IEEE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-341
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • Autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV)
  • Currents
  • Fast Marching (FM)
  • FM* algorithm
  • Multiresolution method
  • Path planning
  • Turning radius


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