Path planning for autonomous ships: A hybrid approach based on improved apf and modified vo methods

Liang Zhang, Junmin Mou, Pengfei Chen, Mengxia Li

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In this research, a hybrid approach for path planning of autonomous ships that generates both global and local paths, respectively, is proposed. The global path is obtained via an improved artificial potential field (APF) method, which makes up for the shortcoming that the typical APF method easily falls into a local minimum. A modified velocity obstacle (VO) method that incorpo-rates the closest point of approach (CPA) model and the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), based on the typical VO method, can be used to get the local path. The contribution of this research is two-fold: (1) improvement of the typical APF and VO methods, making up for previous shortcomings, and integrated COLREGS rules and good seamanship, making the paths obtained more in line with navigation practice; (2) the research included global and local path planning, considering both the safety and maneuverability of the ship in the process of avoiding collision, and studied the whole process of avoiding collision in a relatively entirely way. A case study was then conducted to test the proposed approach in different situations. The results indicate that the proposed approach can find both global and local paths to avoid the target ship.

Original languageEnglish
Article number761
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Artificial potential field method
  • Autonomous ship
  • Path planning
  • Velocity obstacles method


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