A Space-Time Harmonic Potential-Based Navigation Control With Guaranteed Time of Arrival and Obstacle Avoidance

Ahmad A. Masoud*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper suggests a novel context-aware, goal-oriented controller that suits realistic agents operating amidst predictable, time-varying obstacles. The controller can guarantee safe, feasible and on-time mobility to a reachable target where the operator can a priori specify arrival time without violating an upper limit on speed. If the target is not reachable within the speed limit or time window, the control action degenerates and motion terminates at the start point. The navigation controller makes use of the concept of Machian state space-time. The space-time control action is induced from a special type of harmonic potential fields that is called: nonlinear anisotropic harmonic potential. The approach is developed, proofs of correctness and performance are supplied and simulation results are provided to demonstrate the controller's capabilities. Note to Practitioners - The paper suggests a novel space-time navigation controller to meet the stringent requirement on a limited speed, autonomous agent of specifying time of arrival to a target in a cluttered environment. Space-time navigation enables, along with better process management, better utilization of space in terms of increasing traffic density. The approach reduces the need for re-planning in case of unexpected events by providing a plan to reach the target safely and on-time from each point in the feasible space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1785-1803
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2004-2012 IEEE.


  • Motion control
  • aircraft navigation
  • autonomous agents
  • intelligent agents
  • mobile agents
  • motion planning
  • navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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