This work presents a search planning system for a rolling robot to find a source of infra-red (IR) radiation at an unknown location. Heat emissions are observed by a low-cost home-made IR passive visual sensor. The sensor capability for detection of radiation spectra was experimentally characterized. The sensor data were modeled by an exponential model to estimate the distance as a function of the IR image’s intensity, and, a polynomial model to estimate temperature as a function of IR intensities. Both theoretical models are combined to deduce a subtle nonlinear exact solution via distance-temperature. A planning system obtains feed back from the IR camera (position, intensity, and temperature) to lead the robot to find the heat source. The planner is a system of nonlinear equations recursively solved by a Newton-based approach to estimate the IR-source in global coordinates. The planning system assists an autonomous navigation control in order to reach the goal and avoid collisions. Trigonometric partial differential equations were established to control the robot’s course towards the heat emission. A sine function produces attractive accelerations toward the IR source. A cosine function produces repulsive accelerations against the obstacles observed by an RGB-D sensor. Simulations and real experiments of complex indoor are presented to illustrate the convenience and efficacy of the proposed approach.
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