When it comes to mechanisms to avoid obstacles, you have several algorithms. Each one of them has good and bad things. In general, they are grouped in two main categories:
- You have no previous knowledge about the environment.
- You have some knowledge about the environment.
I only know about the first type. Vector Field Histogram and its revisions VFH+ and VFH* seem to be good solutions. Simpler solutions can be Virtual Force Field and Bug Algorithms.
Most of them relay on ultrasound sensors to sweep the surrounding and calculate what the best local path is.
- THE VECTOR FIELD HISTOGRAM - FAST OBSTACLE AVOIDANCE FOR MOBILE
ROBOTS by J. Borenstein and Y. Koren
After this first paper, you can read its revisions VFH+ and VFH*.
When it comes to the second category, I find the best ones require image processing and high computational requirements, however others add ultrasound beacons in the room. The robot would use the pulses send by the beacons to triangulate its position in the room.
- POSITIONING SYSTEM FOR INDOOR MOBILE ROBOT USING ACTIVE ULTRASONIC
BEACONS by Hiroaki SEKI, Yasuo TANAKA, Masaharu TAKANO and Ken