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Road Traversability Analysis Using Network Properties of Roadmaps* Muhammad Mudassir Khan1, Haider Ali2, Karsten Berns3 and Abubakr Muhammad1 Abstract— Traversability analysis is an important aspect of its traversability which is sometimes not possible. To avoid autonomous navigation in robotics. In this paper, we relate traversing the terrain to find its traversability, exterioceptive the idea of traversability to safety and ease of road usage techniques use long range sensors like vision, laser, ultra- by defining a novel sensor-data driven metric called Road sound etc. to measure traversability of a terrain. [6] and [1] Traversability Index (RTI). The RTI translate the geometricinteraction of vehicle with road into a distance modulated index used vision based features to classify terrain into a number of that can be used as advice for a human driver or an autonomous classes like grass, asphalt, gravel, etc. [10], [8] and [11] use agent intending to traverse a particular road segment using a LiDAR data for terrain classification into ground, rocks, and specific vehicle. We present a framework in which 3D sensor vegetation. One can also envision the collection of such data data is converted into a road model, which in turn is converted using aerial platforms, by which the issue of traversability into a roadmap based motion planning graph to representthe underlying configuration space. The RTI is defined as a of the scout vehicle becomes irrelevant [14].
function of the roadmap by axiomatically satisfying all required Once a map has been obtained, determining traversability properties of road traversability. We have tested our algorithmic of the terrain is the next task. Many approaches like [2] framework on simulated scenarios to explore safety; and real- use only terrain data to find local traversability. They find world data sets to discover aspects of traversability for vehicles features like roughness, slope, discontinuity and hardness of various types. Experimental results show that RTI is apractical tool that reveals information that may be hidden to of the terrain and try to infer traversability from these human inspection or other methods of assessment that do not features. They do not analyze whether a vehicle of certain explicitly model a vehicle.
size and kinematics can traverse the terrain or not. Otherapproaches like [14], [12] and [13] uses vehicle model along with terrain data for traversability analysis. They use explicit To traverse a road, both autonomous vehicles and human motion planning techniques to find a feasible path in a given drivers need to detect obstacles and find navigable paths in scenario. However, to give answers to questions of road real-time. The driver proceeds with the belief that at least safety or general traversability posed above, one needs to some feasible path will always be available to take the vehicle capture exhaustively all possible paths to allow the choice closer to its destination. If for some unforeseen reason, a road of the driver in enumerating all possible scenarios while becomes non-traversable, the vehicle gets stuck on the road.
negotiating a particular terrain. Moreover, the linear structure To prepare for such situations, a more desirable approach can of road like pathways requires a moving-window approach be to predict before-hand whether the road conditions allow in which the notion of a continuous forward movement is passage for particular types of vehicles. And if so, what is captured. This may or may not coincide with typical notions the relative level of confidence in allowing a certain vehicle of navigable space in terrain traversability.
to go forward? Due to advances in perception and motion Given the 3D geometric properties of a road patch cap- planning techniques, such an approach is not only relevant tured by a perception system and those of a particular for standard road safety analysis but can also be extended to vehicle, we seek to verify in this paper whether the vehicle off-road scenarios, disaster situations and unpaved pathways.
can traverse through it in the forward direction. If so, what To determine the traversability of a terrain, proprioceptive is the difficulty level of the vehicle's traversability? We techniques have been used to analyze the internal state of propose a sensor data driven Road Traversability Index (RTI) the vehicle using on board sensors like vibration, IMU, which assigns a scalar value to each road patch along the wheel slip, etc. Brooks et al. [3] used vibration analysis length of the road. We deploy a scout vehicle to collect to classify terrain into sand, gravel and clay. Leppanen et the sensor data on which the index is computed offline.
al. [9] determined the quality of terrain, while driving with Once the RTI is computed as a function of distance along a mobile robot. Problem with proprioceptive techniques is a particular road segment, it can be shared with a driver that the vehicle has to traverse a terrain in order to measure or autonomous vehicle to make it aware of the relative *This work has been supported by a LUMS Faculty Initiative Fund (FIF); difficulties of traversing a particular road. It can provide non- research visit support provided to H. Ali under the PPQP Scheme of Govt.
obvious answers to traversability questions. For example, a of Pakistan; and a grant awarded to TUKL and LUMS under a DAAD particular road segment may be traversable by only one type German-Pakistani exchange program.
1M. M. Khan and A. Muhammad are with the Dept. of Electrical of vehicle and not by another. To appreciate this, consider Engineering, LUMS, Pakistan {10060013, abubakr} the scenario depicted in Fig. 1, where an obstacle on the road 2H. Ali is a senior researcher at Robotics and Mechatronics Center, (e.g. a pit) is so wide that a smaller vehicle may not be able to German Aerospace Center (DLR), Germany [email protected] 3K. Berns is with the Dept. of Computer Science, TU Kaiserslautern, pass but a larger vehicle may be able to negotiate the obstacle by placing tires on opposite sides of the pit. In a disaster (a) Small vehicle can traverse but large vehicle can not.
(b) Large vehicle can traverse but small vehicle can not.
Fig. 1: Example scenario where obstacle position on road can effect vehicle's traversability for different types of vehicles.
In (a) a small vehicle can traverse the road by keep itself towards the edge of the road while the large vehicle can nottraverse it. In (b) the scenario is totally opposite. Now large vehicle can traverse the road by placing its tires on the sidesof the obstacle. While small vehicle can not traverse the road any more because of not enough space.
scenario, a paved road segment once considered safe for all will be captured by the narrow passage shown in right image.
types of vehicles may now be usable for only certain types. In Note that all paths present in the right image are already a developing world situation, a village semi-structured road present in the obstacle free scenario. Therefore, the presence may have deteriorated to the point that only certain types of obstacles has limited the freedom in choosing the paths of vehicles can use it. Answers to such questions cannot be joining both ends. However, measuring this freedom is not given by qualitative manual inspection of the road only.
straight forward. The range of possibilities manifested by The paper is organized as follows. We first define the no- vehicle kinematics and its geometric footprint forces us to tion of road traversability and motivate the need for an index work in the configuration space rather than the ambient in Section II. Next, we present the framework under which space of the road plane. Moreover, dealing directly with we compute this index in Section III. We show axiomatically, the underlying continuous space makes the problem of path how our definition of a Road Traversability Index (RTI) enumeration algorithmically intractable. We therefore take defined on roadmap graphs satisfies the requirements of a the following approach.
good metric for our envisioned applications. In Section IV, The road model is built by a 3D perception system that we summarize results from application of our framework digitally captures the ambient space geometry in front of to various data-sets, both simulated and real. The paper is the scout vehicle. From this road model, standard roadmap concluded by a discussion in Section V.
based sampling techniques are used to get a dense graph the-oretic representation of the underlying configuration space.
II. MEASURING ROAD TRAVERSABILITY Traversability can now be studied on this roadmap graph to Traversability is a broadly used term and it is interpreted infer the desired properties of the underlying configuration based on the context and application. Generally, it is defined space. In Section III, we formally define a function RTI as the safety of a vehicle traversing a terrain while obeying Γ : G → [0, 1] which takes the roadmap graph G extracted some constraints. Traversability is also referred by different from the road model as an input and outputs a real value, names depending upon the context in which it is used [12].
with 0 indicating that the road is not traversable by the In this paper, we define it as a measure of the free space vehicle, 1 meaning the maximum possible traversability and available for a vehicle to traverse from one end of the road a value in between meaning relative traversability. Note segment to the other. This may be captured by the freedom that such traversability has to be reported for each road in choosing paths on the road joining start positions in one segment inspected by the scout and therefore the RTI will be end to goal positions at the other end.
computed as a distance modulated function of each segment In order to elaborate on this concept, refer to Fig. 2.
analyzed along the length of the road.
The left image shows a single representative path (traced by It is also important to comment on the current limitations the center of a vehicle) from one end of the road segment of this approach. Note, that in this geometric model two to the other. The center image shows the collective image aspects are still missing. First, there is no inclusion of a road of all such paths. Now, if obstacles are introduced, the contact model whereby a surface that may look geometrically traversability of the vehicle on the road will decrease and traversable may not be so due to improper tire grip and Narrow Passage, Limited Paths Fig. 2: Graphical representation of traversability of a road segment. Green is traversable road area, which is restricted byobstacles, resulting in a narrow passage shown by red arrow (right).

other factors. This however is a limitation common to all fitting to extract its parameters. RANSAC is used to extract exterioceptive methods. In our case, if such proprioceptive coefficients (a,b,c,d) in plane parametric equation a · x + b · data is available, it can be easily incorporated into labelling the obstacles based on both geometry and surface type. Sec- Obstacles: Our traversability is based on the assumption ondly, only geometric interaction of vehicle with terrain have of non-traversable static obstacles. Both negative obstacles been modelled in this paper. Traversability of many obstacles (ditches and potholes) and positive obstacles (speed breakers, depend on vehicle kinematics and dynamics (e.g. at different traffic signals, walls, footpaths etc.) are assumed to be present speeds, weight etc.). Again, the current framework provides on the road.
the framework whereby configurations can be upgraded to full dynamical states, when computing the roadmaps. Weleave such extensions to a future work. In this paper, the A subset of geometry based approaches uses vehicle model focus is on geometric interaction of vehicle and road.
in order to find its traversability. Vehicle model consist of anumber of parameters that describe the shape and physical properties of the vehicle. The parameters of the vehicle are The methodology as given in Fig. 3 is used to find the used to generate vehicle model and the model is used to find traversability of a road patch. First road 3D data is recorded the interaction of the vehicle with terrain. The parameters using any range sensor and it is preprocessed to remove of the vehicle used for traversability analysis are given in outliers, crop unwanted region and down sample the data Table I. Holonomic and non-holonomics constraints are used to reduce computation time. Terrain surface in the 3D data while generating roadmap graph.
is find using a terrain model. Using terrain model and vehicle TABLE I: Various vehicle parameters used for traversability parameters, a number of different vehicle configurations Qi are generated on the road surface. Each configuration isassigned a valid flag which is true if the configuration is collision free and false otherwise. A roadmap graph G = Width of the vehicle Length of the vehicle (V, E) is generated using these configurations, where each Height of the vehicle from node vi ∈ V is configuration qi ∈ Q and each edge Wheelbase: distance between i, vj ) ∈ E means there is a collision free path from vi front and rare axle to vj. By studying the properties of this roadmap graph, we Track: distance between cen- can find interesting information about the traversability of ter of rare tires the road. Below we explain all the steps in details.
Ground Clearance of Vehicle Width of wheels of the vehicle Generate Configurations Collision Checking RTI (Road Traversability Index) Fig. 3: Framework for road traversability analysis.
Fig. 4: Various vehicles used for traversability analysis.
A. Data Recording and Preprocessing D. Configuration Space (C-Space) 3D data of the road surface recorded using any range The configuration space of our vehicle is Q = {(x, y, θ)}, sensor and converted to point cloud format is used for where (x, y) is the vehicle center on the road and θ is analysis purpose. We used a quadcopter model with a 3D vehicle's yaw angle with the road also called its orientation.
laser sensor for data recording in simulation. A Velodyne Given a vehicle configuration q ∈ Q, one can check whether laser scanner mounted on a ground vehicle was used in the it collide with any obstacle or not. If any of the tires of the publicly available data-set analyzed in Section IV. Some vehicle or the vehicle body itself collides with any obstacle, standard pre-filtering of this data (e.g. removal of outliers then the configuration q is considered as invalid, otherwise and dynamic obstacles) has also been done. We omit these its a valid configuration details for succinctness.
E. Collision Checking Collision checking in direct pointclouds is an expensive Since we are interested in assessing the traversability of task as hundreds of thousands points have to be checked for the road, the first task is to extract the road surface from the collision detection for each configuration of the vehicle. An recorded point cloud. The simplest and widely used approach alternative solution is to use Digital Elevation Maps which is to consider the road as a planar surface and then use plane convert the space into discrete grid cells. The problem with standard DEM is that it only store one value for each cell roadmap graph G = (V, E) for each road patch, we split i.e. the height of terrain at that point, which is not sufficient the vertices V ∈ G = (V, E) into start S, intermediate I for cases where there could be over hanging obstacles like and goal F configurations such that V = S ∪ I ∪ F as bridges, trees etc. To overcome this limitation, an enhanced shown in a toy example Fig. 5. We find all the connected version of the DEM is used for collision checking that components {Gi} where Gi ⊂ G = (V, E) and S G stores multiple level of obstacle heights for each cell. For A connected component of a graph is subset of G such that collision checking all DEM cells under vehicle are retrieved all nodes are reachable from one another. We then calculate and processed for collision checking. Tires are checked for Maxflow/MinCut (minimum number of vertices whose collision with negative obstacles while vehicle body is used removal will disconnect start and goal configurations) for for collision with positive obstacles.
each connected component to find Γ. We require Γ to havefollowing properties.
F. Roadmaps and Adjacency Matrix As the dimensions of CSpace grows, explicit representa- 1) Γ(G) ≥ 0 for all G.
tion of Q becomes expensive. PRM [4] constructs a roadmap 2) Γ(G) = 0, if no path exist between start configurations which is represented by an undirected graph G = (V, E) S and goal configurations F . Hence the vehicle can that captures the high dimensional CSpaces. We generate a not traverse from any start configuration to any goal PRM graph G = (V, E) with uniform distribution where V is a set of configurations chosen from Q. E is a set 3) Γ(G) = 1, if all start configurations S, intermediate of edges connecting configurations q ∈ Q such that if qi configurations I and goal configurations F are in a is directly reachable from qj and there is no intermediate single connected component of G.
invalid configuration between them, then there exists an edge 4) A connected component Gi = (Vi, Ei) with no start eij ∈ E connecting qi to qj. An invalid configuration can not configurations S or no goal configurations F does not have an edge to any other configuration. Adjacency matrix contribute to Γ(G).
A stores information of roadmap graph G. Each element if Vi ∩ S = φ or Vi ∩ F = φ.
j is reachable from qi and all sub-sampled configurations are also valid; and zero otherwise.
5) RTI of a roadmap G is the sum of RTI of all its connected components Gi.
G. RTI (Road Traversability Index) Using graph concepts RTI can be defined as the number of unique paths1 on the road from start nodes to goal nodes. In order to map the traversability of the road for 6) Γ(Gi) ∝ µ(Gi) where µ(Gi) is the Maxflow/Mincut given roadmap graph G = (V, E), we have defined RTI from start configurations to the goal configurations (Road Traversability Index) Γ : G → [0, 1]. The function in the connected component Gi. µ(Gi) can also be maps roadmap G of the vehicle on the road to a real value defined as the number of unique paths from start to between 0 and 1. The maximum value is obtained when goal configurations on the road. From graph theoretic the vehicle has perfect traversability on the road i.e. there perspective, it is the minimum number of vertices is no obstacle on the road. The minimum value occurs that need to be removed in order to disconnect start when the road is non-traversable by the vehicle. A value configurations from goal configurations.
in between shows the relative traversability of the road as 7) For two roadmap graphs G and H, Γ(G) > Γ(H), if compared to the above scenarios. To calculate RTI from number of unique paths connecting S and F in G isgreater than H i.e. µ(G) > µ(H).
8) Γ(Gi) ∝ ω, where ω is the ratio of the width of the current road patch wr and nominal road width wN .
Intermediate Nodes I Using the above properties of Γ, we derived the following(1) for RTI of a connected component Γ(G i) = ω · 1(Gi) · : (Gi, S, F ) → {0, 1} is an indicator function that returns 0 if there is no start or goal configurationin the Gi = (Vi, Ei) or 1 otherwise as given in (2). µN is Fig. 5: Example of a PRM graph with Start, Intermediate, the Maxflow/Mincut of the nominal road with no obstacle Goal and Mincut nodes.
and is used to normalize Γ(Gi).
1Unique paths are paths in graph that do not share common nodes and Maxflow/Mincut can be used to compute it.
Putting everything together, we get: where ω remains constant for fixed width road.
IV. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS To validate our framework we used two different simulated scenarios and a publicly available dataset and tested it with three different vehicles. Fig. 4 shows the vehicle we have Pointcloud Frames used for testing and Table I shows the vehicle parameters.
Fig. 7: RTI of safest route scenario: Route1 (Green) Vs.
Route2 (Blue).
A. Simulated Scenarios Using simulation environment V-REP [5], two scenes each depicting a different problem scenario were generated and by placing its tires on the sides of the obstacles but Vehicle2 tested for traversability analysis. The data was recorded using can not. For the negative obstacle to the side of the road a Quadcopter flying above road surface with a 3D laser (Frame 23 − 26), the situation is reversed and now Vehicle2 sensor. Each frame consist of 38400 points with a width can traverse the road but Vehicle3 can not.
of around 6 meters and length of about 8 meters. Below we explain the traversability analysis of each scenario.
1) Safest Route: The first scenario shown in Fig. 6 is to find the safest route from point A to point B in a road network. There are two routes from point A to B, we call them Route1 (green) and Route2 (blue). Route1 has more obstacles than Route2 and a traditional traversability analysis would term Route2 as safer than Route1. In Fig. 7 we show Pointcloud Frames the RTI of the two routes using three different vehicles fromTable I. The RTI graphs suggest that Route1 is more safer Fig. 8: Effect of negative obstacles on traversability.
than Route2 for all vehicles. A quick look at the scenariowould also reveal that there is more space for vehicles to B. Real World Data travel on Route1 than on Route2 due to obstacles blockingmajority of the road. Hence RTI is a practical tool for finding For validating our framework on real world data, we used safer routes in road networks.
a publicly available data-set (KITTI) [7], which has beenrecorded using a Velodyne installed on top of a car. Velodynerecords data for all 360 degree around the sensor. We cropa frontal patch of 6 × 8 meter2 point cloud and processedit using our framework. The results of the KITTI dataset isshown in Fig. 10, and looking at the results we can inferthat there must be obstacles at frame 60, 90 and 120. Fig. 9shows the corresponding frontal RGB images. We observethe following: 1) In frame 60, there is no road in front of the vehicle.
This is where the vehicle takes a tight turn.
2) In frame 90, there is a road block that restricts larger Fig. 6: Simulation scenario to find safest route from point A vehicles to pass through but smaller vehicles can to another point B on a road network with two options.
traverse with relative ease. When the correspondingroadmap graph was studied, we found that the height 2) Effect of Negative Obstacles: In the second scenario of the road barrier was more than the height of (small) we simulated the situation discussed in Section I and shown Vehicle1, hence it could traverse the road by passing in Fig. 1. The scene is a straight road with two negative under the obstacle. This explains the higher RTI.
obstacles; one in the middle of the road and another at the 3) In frame 120, vehicle is oriented towards the car park- side of the road. Looking at the RTI of the this scenario in ing and no road surface was captured in the cropped Fig. 8, we can see that Vehicle1 has no problem traversing point cloud. Hence we see small RTI values for all both obstacles due to its small size but Vehicle2 and Vehicle3 each has problem with the same obstacle being placed at Notice the utility of the framework. While Frames 60 and different position of the road. So for the negative obstacle at 120 should not not have been reported as completely non- the center of the road (Frame 7−11), Vehicle3 can traverse it traversable (the scout vehicle was actually turning and we

Fig. 9: RGB images of the dataset where vehicles had lower RTI.
discarded all non-frontal data), the framework was able to framework is the use of Configuration Space instead of the flag the road segments where the vehicle faced the most more conventional ambient space for traversability analysis.
difficulty (tight turns). In Frame 90, we were able to discover This allows for extension to more complicated scenarios in unexpected features (such as the traversability of the smaller which higher dimensional state-space based traversability can vehicle under the road barrier). Much of this is not possible be explored, where by state we mean the incorporation of in framework that measures road conditions without referring vehicle kinematics (e.g. speed) and road surface conditions to a particular vehicle. Video includes pointcloud and RGB (e.g. roughness) on top of geometric approach.
images along with RTI for each frame.
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Original Article Dermatological side effects of Sildenafil among a group of Iraqi males Nadheer A. Matloob  Dermatological Side Effects of Sildenafil among a group of Iraqi Nadheer A. Matloob* MBCHB, DDV, FICMS, CABD Summary: Background: Sildenafil is a drug that is used to treat erectile dysfunctions, it acts by inhibiting CGMP specific phosphodiesterase type 5, an enzyme that regulates blood flow in the penis. The most common adverse effects of sildenafil are headache, dyspepsia, nasal congestion and impaired vision which includes photophobia and blurred vision. Many dermatological side effects are present like flushing,