In this work, an optimal maneuverability strategy for car-like unmanned vehicles operating in restricted environments is presented. The maneuverability strategy is based on a path planning algorithm that uses the environment information to plan a safe, feasible and optimum path for the unmanned mobile robot. The environment information is obtained by means of a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) algorithm. The SLAM algorithm uses the sensors' information to build a map of the surrounding environment. A Monte Carlo sampling technique is used to find an optimal and safe path within the environment based on the SLAM information. The objective of the planning is to safely reach a desired orientation in a bounded space. Theoretical demonstrations and real-time experimental results (in indoor and outdoor environments) are also presented in this work. © Cambridge University Press 2013.