Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN/BFNT Sonderseminar

Wednesday, 16.06.2010 17 c.t.

Spatial Navigation by a Cortically Inspired Distributed Graphical System

by Prof. Dr. Jörg Conradt
from Institute for Automation and Autonomous Systems, Technische Universität München

Contact person: Florentin Wörgötter


Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)


Animals quickly acquire spatial knowledge and are thereby able to navigate over very large regions. These natural methods dramatically outperform current algorithms for robotic navigation, which are either limited to small regions or require huge computational resources to maintain a globally consistent spatial map. We have now developed a novel system for mobile robotic navigation that like its biological counterpart decomposes explored space into a distributed graphical network of behaviorally significant places, each represented by an independent "place agent" (PA) that actively maintains the spatial and behavioral knowledge relevant for navigation in that place. Each PA operates only on its limited local information and communicates only with its directly connected graphical neighbors. Thus, there is no global supervisor and it is only necessary to maintain spatial consistency locally within the graph. This simple strategy significantly reduces computational complexity; scales well with the size of the navigable region; and permits a robot to autonomously explore, learn, and navigate large unknown office environments in real time.

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