Improvements to the models in Section 13.1 can be made by placing integrators in front of action variables. For example, consider the unicycle model (13.18). Instead of directly setting the speed using , suppose that the speed is obtained by integration of an action that represents acceleration. The equation is used instead of , which means that the action sets the change in speed. If is chosen from some bounded interval, then the speed is a continuous function of time.
How should the transition equation be represented in this case? The set of possible values for imposes a second-order constraint on and because double integration is needed to determine their values. By applying the phase space idea, can be considered as a phase variable. This results in a four-dimensional phase space, in which each state is . The state (or phase) transition equation is
The integrator idea can be applied again to make the unicycle orientations a continuous function of time. Let denote an angular acceleration action. Let denote the angular velocity, which is introduced as a new state variable. This results in a five-dimensional phase space and a model called the second-order unicycle:
Steven M LaValle 2012-04-20