A Model for Optimal Human Navigation with Stochastic Effects
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A Model for Optimal Human Navigation with Stochastic Effects

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We present a method for optimal path planning of human walking paths in mountainous terrain, using a control theoretic formulation and a Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation. Previous models for human navigation were entirely deterministic, assuming perfect knowledge of the ambient elevation data and human walking velocity as a function of local slope of the terrain. Our model includes a stochastic component which can account for uncertainty in the problem, and thus includes a Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equation with viscosity. We discuss the model in the presence and absence of stochastic effects, and suggest numerical methods for simulating the model. We discuss two different notions of an optimal path when there is uncertainty in the problem. Finally, we compare the optimal paths suggested by the model at different levels of uncertainty, and observe that as the size of the uncertainty tends to zero (and thus the viscosity in the equation tends to zero), the optimal path tends toward the deterministic optimal path.

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