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Troy McMahon, Read Sandstrom, Shawna Thomas, Nancy M. Amato, "Manipulation Planning with Directed Reachable Volumes," In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Intel. Rob. Syst. (IROS), pp. to appear, Vancouver, Canada, Sep 2017.
Proceedings(pdf, abstract)

Motion planning for manipulators with rotational joints is challenging because the actuation range for each link is constrained by the placement and orientation of other links. Thus, finding paths that avoid self-collision is non-trivial. However, rotational joints are often used in industrial robots.

We develop a reparameterization of the planning problem called directed reachable volumes that provides an explicit representation of the workspace regions that the joints and end effectors can reach given the placement and orientation of other links. This formulation, while similar in spirit to prior reachable volume work, does not rely on the same restrictive assumptions that preclude prior work from handling rotational joints. We provide primitive planning operations that can be used in the context of state-of-the-art motion planning methods. We present experimental validation of directed reachable volumes by demonstrating a simulated pick-and-place scenario using realistic robots with rotational joints.