Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics X

Volume 86 of the series Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics pp 313-329

On the Power of Manifold Samples in Exploring Configuration Spaces and the Dimensionality of Narrow Passages

  • Oren SalzmanAffiliated withTel-Aviv University Email author 
  • , Michael HemmerAffiliated withTel-Aviv University
  • , Dan HalperinAffiliated withTel-Aviv University

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We extend our study of Motion Planning via Manifold Samples (MMS), a general algorithmic framework that combines geometric methods for the exact and complete analysis of low-dimensional configuration spaces with sampling-based approaches that are appropriate for higher dimensions. The framework explores the configuration space by taking samples that are low-dimensional manifolds of the configuration space capturing its connectivity much better than isolated point samples. The contributions of this paper are as follows: (i) We present a recursive application of MMS in a sixdimensional configuration space, enabling the coordination of two polygonal robots translating and rotating amidst polygonal obstacles. In the adduced experiments for the more demanding test cases MMS clearly outperforms PRM, with over 20-fold speedup in a coordination-tight setting. (ii) A probabilistic completeness proof for the most prevalent case, namely MMS with samples that are affine subspaces. (iii) A closer examination of the test cases reveals that MMS has, in comparison to standard sampling-based algorithms, a significant advantage in scenarios containing high-dimensional narrow passages. This provokes a novel characterization of narrow passages which attempts to capture their dimensionality, an attribute that had been (to a large extent) unattended in previous definitions.