Paper accepted at the IEEE Humanoids 2018 conference

Paper accepted at the IEEE Humanoids 2018 conference:

Congratulations to Andrew Kimmel, Rahul Shome and Zakary Littlefield for the paper: “Fast, Anytime Motion Planning for Prehensile Manipulation in Clutter”, which has been accepted to appear at the 2018 IEEE-RAS 18th International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids 2018). The conference will take place at Beijing, China, on November 6-9, 2018.

The paper proposes a robot arm planning framework that achieves high success ratio in clutter with any-time performance by returning solutions quickly and improving their quality over time, measured in terms of end effector’s displacement. The idea is to first explore the lower dimensional end effector’s task space efficiently by ignoring the arm, and build a discrete approximation of a navigation function, which guides the end effector towards the set of available grasps or object placements. This is performed online, without prior knowledge of the scene. Then, an informed sampling-based planner for the entire arm uses Jacobian-based steering to reach promising end effector poses given the task space guidance. While informed, the method is also comprehensive and allows the exploration of alternative paths over time if the task space guidance does not lead to a solution. This paper evaluates the proposed method against alternatives in picking or placing tasks among varying amounts of clutter for a variety of robotic manipulators with different end-effectors. The results suggest that the method reliably provides higher quality solution paths quicker, with a higher success rate relative to alternatives.