A visibility-based pursuit-evasion problem

Leonidas J. Guibas, Jean Claude Latombe, Steven M. Lavalle, David Lin, Rajeev Motwani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the problem of planning the motion of one or more pursuers in a polygonal environment to eventually "see" an evader that is unpredictable, has unknown initial position, and is capable of moving arbitrarily fast. This problem was first introduced by Suzuki and Yamashita. Our study of this problem is motivated in part by robotics applications, such as surveillance with a mobile robot equipped with a camera that must find a moving target in a cluttered workspace. A few bounds are introduced, and a complete algorithm is presented for computing a successful motion strategy for a single pursuer. For simply-connected free spaces, it is shown that the minimum number of pursuers required is ⊖(lg n). For multiply-connected free spaces, the bound is ⊖(√h + lgn) pursuers for a polygon that has n edges and h holes. A set of problems that are solvable by a single pursuer and require a linear number of recontaminations is shown. The complete algorithm searches a finite graph that is constructed on the basis of critical information changes. It has been implemented and computed examples are shown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-493
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Computational Geometry and Applications
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Information spaces
  • Motion planning
  • Pursuit-evasion
  • Sensing uncertainty
  • Visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Geometry and Topology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics

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