SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 19 May 2016

Preliminary Development of a Test Method for Obstacle Detection and Avoidance in Industrial Environments


There is currently no standard method for comparing autonomous capabilities among systems. We propose a test method for evaluating an automated mobile system's ability to detect and avoid obstacles, specifically those in an industrial environment. To this end, a taxonomy is being generated to determine the relevant physical characteristics of obstacles so that they can be accurately represented in the test method. Our preliminary development includes the design of an apparatus, props, procedures, and metrics. We have fabricated a series of obstacle test props that reflect a variety of physical characteristics and have performed a series of tests with a small mobile robot toward validation of the test method. Future work includes expanding the taxonomy, designing more obstacle test props, collecting test data with more automatically guided vehicles and robots, and formalizing our work as a potential standard test method through the ASTM F45 Committee on Driverless Automatic Guided Industrial Vehicles, specifically ASTM F45.03 Object Detection and Protection.

Author Information

Norton, Adam
New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, US
Yanco, Holly
Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, US
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Developed by Committee: F45
Pages: 23–40
DOI: 10.1520/STP159420150059
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7634-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7633-1