Steering a Robot with Vanishing Points

Rolf Schuster, Nirwan Ansari, Ali Bani-Hashemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The paper analyzes the use of vanishing points for steering a robot. Parallel lines in the environment of the robot are used to compute vanishing points which serve as a reference for guiding the robot. To accomplish the steering task, three subtasks are performed: detection of straight lines, computation of vanishing points, and robot steering using vanishing points. Straight lines are detected by employing a high precision edge detector and a line-fitting algorithm. The cross product method introduced by Magee and Aggarwal is modified to make the detection of vanishing points appropriate for an indoor environment. Properties of vanishing points under camera rotation and translation are derived. Using these properties, the location of the vanishing points can serve as a reference for steering the robot. A model of the robot environment is defined, summarizing the minimum number of constraints necessary for the method to work. Finally, the limitations as well as the advantages of using vanishing points in robot navigation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-498
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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