Publication: Application of the Laminar Navier–Stokes Equations for Solving 2D and 3D Pathfinding Problems with Static and Dynamic Spatial Constraints: Implementation and Validation in Comsol Multiphysics
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Pathfinding problems consist in determining the optimal shortest path, or at least one path, between two points in the space. In this paper, we propose a particular approach, based on methods used in computational fluid dynamics, that intends to solve such problems. In particular, we reformulate pathfinding problems as the motion of a viscous fluid via the use of the laminar Navier–Stokes equations completed with suitable boundary conditions corresponding to some characteristics of the considered problem: position of the initial and final points, a-priori information of the terrain, One-way routes and dynamic spatial configuration. Then, we propose and validate a numerical implementation of this methodology by using Comsol Multiphysics (i.e., a finite element methods software) and by considering various experiments. We compare the obtained results with those returned by a classical pathfinding algorithm. Finally, we perform a sensitivity analysis of the proposed algorithms with respect to some key parameters.