On minimum-time paths of bounded curvature with position-dependent constraints

Ricardo G. Sanfelice, Sze Zheng Yong, Emilio Frazzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We consider the problem of a particle traveling from an initial configuration to a final configuration (given by a point in the plane along with a prescribed velocity vector) in minimum time with non-homogeneous velocity and with constraints on the minimum turning radius of the particle over multiple regions of the state space. Necessary conditions for optimality of these paths are derived to characterize the nature of optimal paths, both when the particle is inside a region and when it crosses boundaries between neighboring regions. These conditions are used to characterize families of optimal and nonoptimal paths. Among the optimality conditions, we derive a "refraction" law at the boundary of the regions that generalizes the so-called Snell's law of refraction in optics to the case of paths with bounded curvature. Tools employed to deduce our results include recent principles of optimality for hybrid systems. A numerical example is given to demonstrate the derived results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-546
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dubins vehicle
  • Hybrid control
  • Motion planning
  • Optimal control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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