Object avoidance in rugged environments

Hey guys!

I’m currently working with a team to develop a ground robot for metal detecting in rugged terrain.

Our team had been donated an eight-wheel UGV platform and I’ve been put in charge of developing the navigation and object avoidance system.

I have been considering using the bendy ruler method for object avoidance, although as much as we’d like to utilize a cheap 360 deg laser to avoid obstacles, we’re concerned that it will miss objects or misperceive the environment as the front of the robot goes up and down, and we also will not be able to provide a 360 laser with 360deg of unobstructed vision.

We’d also like to be able to set a specific height of obstacle to avoid as the robot is more than capable of climbing obstacles under 1ft, is there a capability to filter out objects to avoid by height?

We’re ultimately considering using some sort of depth camera to achieve this and I’m wondering what your thoughts are of the intel real sense D435.

Also, not too important, however is there any way to measure and avoid holes or drop-offs? As the robot can bridge gaps pretty well, I would like a method of setting limits of how big a gap the robot will avoid or drive over.

Thanks for your advice guys! Pics to come during assembly!