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Homework Help: Movement along a curve

  1. Nov 8, 2008 #1
    This is my first post here, and I'm not really sure where I should have made it. If it's in the wrong place, please go easy on me and could an admin move it to where it should be.

    It's not strictly a homework problem, but it's fairly specific question, and not very deep or philosophical.

    I have a moving object. It has an initial location (x,y), heading and speed.

    I also have a destination point (x,y).

    What I would like, is some way to calculate the constant acceleration and turning (ie. degrees per second) required to get the object to the destination point. I am not particularly interested in the final speed or heading.

    I realize it's a pretty big ask, but if anyone could help me, or perhaps point me in the direction of some relevant articles or even other forums, then I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2008 #2


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    If there is no constraints, you can consider your movement to be circular uniform. So, your starting and destination points belong to a circle and the initial velocity is tangent to the circle at the starting point.
    Knowing two points and a tangent, you can calculate the radius R of the circle. The centripetal acceleration is [tex]V^2/R[/tex]
  4. Nov 8, 2008 #3
    Hmmm. Good point.

    There will be constraints on the maximum speed and turning rate.

    I had intended to calculate the required values first, and then check if they fall within the limits after, but I see that won't work.

    I guess in reality, I'm looking for the the minimum amount of turning required, and the corresponding acceleration.
  5. Nov 8, 2008 #4


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    With constraints you will probably need to use Lagrange multipliers.
  6. Nov 9, 2008 #5
    Well that's just *far* too complicated for me to be able to understand inside of the next year, so I guess I'll have to manage without :(

    Thanks for your help.
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