Single-thruster hovercraft with rotation


This project uses Rapidly-Exploring Random Trees (RRTs) to compute a path for a hovercraft through a user-defined obstacle course.


The design of the hover craft was fairly straight-forward. However the project was several orders of magnitude more difficult since I used no pre-existing code and tried to make the model to modularly fit into the RRT algorithm.

State Equations

The hovercraft model is a simple point-mass with a thruster on the rear. The craft can be rotated a maximum of (+/-)0.2*pi to induce steering. Since this causes an off-balance thrust, we must be careful to take the component of the thrust in the x and y directions for correct calculation of the x and y acceleration.


Here we see the hovercraft just trying to make its way to the opposite corner of the playing field without hitting any obstacles.


The code is in the compressed package csim-final.tgz.

To be continued...

But a simple robot with such a simplistic turning strategy is boring. What if it could spin frictionlessly, too. Then we could have more exciting results...

Steven Bergom
Last modified: Thu Apr 29 20:33:24 CDT 1999