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Traversability Metrics for Urban Search and Rescue Robots on Rough Terrain



V Molino, Rajmohan Madhavan, Elena R. Messina, Anthony J. Downs, Adam S. Jacoff, Stephen B. Balakirsky


Rough terrain, such as the rubble that we would expect to find in urban disaster areas, will likely impede robot mobility. The goal of this paper is to find methods for quantifying the difficulty a robot should encounter traversing a region of rough terrain. We construct three metrics describing rough terrain robot mobility. In order to simplify the problem we assume that the rough terrain in question can be discretized in a certain manner and then we develop the metrics for this discretized version of the terrain. Two of these metrics reflect the difficulty a robot would have trying to move over the entire region of terrain, which is what we refer to as the coverability. The other metric describes the difficulty a robot would encounter attempting to move from some fixed point on the terrain to some other fixed point, which we call the crossability. We compute some coverability numbers for NIST step fields and briefly analyze the numerical data that are obtained.
Proceedings Title
PerMIS | | | NIST Intelligent Systems Division and DARPA
Conference Dates
August 21-23, 2006
Conference Title
Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems (PerMIS) Proceedings


coverability, crossability, rough terrain, roughness, step field, traversability


Molino, V. , Madhavan, R. , Messina, E. , Downs, A. , Jacoff, A. and Balakirsky, S. (2007), Traversability Metrics for Urban Search and Rescue Robots on Rough Terrain, PerMIS | | | NIST Intelligent Systems Division and DARPA, [online], (Accessed April 24, 2024)
Created January 31, 2007, Updated February 19, 2017