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Keywords:

  • path-planning;
  • dynamic programming;
  • vessel routing;
  • dynamic environment

Abstract

This article examines optimal path finding problems where cost function and constraints are direction, location, and time dependent. Recent advancements in sensor and data-processing technology facilitate the collection of detailed real-time information about the environment surrounding a ground vehicle, an airplane, or a naval vessel. We present a navigation model that makes use of such information. We relax a number of assumptions from existing literature on path-finding problems and create an accurate, yet tractable, model suitable for implementation for a large class of problems. We present a dynamic programming model which integrates our earlier results for direction-dependent, time and space homogeneous environment, and consequently, improves its accuracy, efficiency, and run-time. The proposed path finding model also addresses limited information about the surrounding environment, control-feasibility of the considered paths, such as sharpest feasible turns a vehicle can make, and computational demands of a time-dependent environment. To demonstrate the applicability and performance of our path-finding algorithm, computational experiments for a short-range ship routing in dynamic wave-field problem are presented. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Naval Research Logistics, 2012