Although joysticks on motorized wheelchairs have improved the lives of so many, patients with Parkinson's, stroke, limb injury, or vision problems need alternate solutions. Further, navigating wheelchairs through cluttered environments without colliding into objects or people can be a challenging task. Due to these reasons, many patients are reliant on a caretaker for daily tasks. To aid persons with disabilities, the Machine Intelligence Laboratory Personal Electronic Transport (Milpet), provides a solution. Milpet is an effective access wheelchair with speech recognition capabilities. Commands such as ``Milpet, take me to room 237’’ or ``Milpet, move forward’’ can be given. As Milpet executes the patient’s commands, it will calculate the optimal route, avoid obstacles, and recalculate a path if necessary.

This thesis describes the development of modular obstacle avoidance and path planning algorithms for indoor agents. Due to the modularity of the system, the navigation system is expandable for different robots. The obstacle avoidance system is configurable to exhibit various behaviors. According to need, the agent can be influenced by a path or the environment, exhibit wall following or hallway centering, or just wander in free space while avoiding obstacles. This navigation system has been tested under various conditions to demonstrate the robustness of the obstacle and path planning modules. A measurement of obstacle proximity and destination proximity have been introduced for showing the practicality of the navigation system. The capabilities introduced to Milpet are a big step in giving the independence and privacy back to so many who are reliant on care givers or loved ones.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Intelligent agents (Computer software)--Programming; Robots--Control systems; Robots--Motion; Computer vision

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Computer Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Computer Engineering (KGCOE)


Raymond Ptucha

Advisor/Committee Member

Amlan Ganguly

Advisor/Committee Member

Clark Hochgraf


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at QA76.76.I58 K36 2017


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes