Abstract

Collision detection and avoidance are important in robotics. Compared with commonly used circular disks, elliptic disks provide a more compact shape representation for robots or other vehicles confined to move in the plane. Furthermore, elliptic disks allow a simpler analytic representation than rectangular boxes, which makes it easier to perform continuous collision detection (CCD). We shall present a fast and accurate method for CCD between two moving elliptic disks, which avoids any need to sample the time domain of the motion, thus avoiding the possibility of missing collisions between time samples. Based on some new algebraic conditions on the separation of two ellipses, we reduce collision detection for two moving ellipses to the problem of detecting real roots of a univariate equation, which is the discriminant of the characteristic polynomial of the two ellipses. Several techniques are investigated for robust and accurate processing of this univariate equation for two classes of commonly used motions: planar cycloidal motions and planar rational motions. Experimental results demonstrate the efficiency, accuracy, and robustness of our method.