Collaborating Authors

Neural Manipulation Planning on Constraint Manifolds Artificial Intelligence

The presence of task constraints imposes a significant challenge to motion planning. Despite all recent advancements, existing algorithms are still computationally expensive for most planning problems. In this paper, we present Constrained Motion Planning Networks (CoMPNet), the first neural planner for multimodal kinematic constraints. Our approach comprises the following components: i) constraint and environment perception encoders; ii) neural robot configuration generator that outputs configurations on/near the constraint manifold(s), and iii) a bidirectional planning algorithm that takes the generated configurations to create a feasible robot motion trajectory. We show that CoMPNet solves practical motion planning tasks involving both unconstrained and constrained problems. Furthermore, it generalizes to new unseen locations of the objects, i.e., not seen during training, in the given environments with high success rates. When compared to the state-of-the-art constrained motion planning algorithms, CoMPNet outperforms by order of magnitude improvement in computational speed with a significantly lower variance.

Motion Planning Networks: Bridging the Gap Between Learning-based and Classical Motion Planners Artificial Intelligence

This paper describes Motion Planning Networks (MPNet), a computationally efficient, learning-based neural planner for solving motion planning problems. MPNet uses neural networks to learn general near-optimal heuristics for path planning in seen and unseen environments. It receives environment information as point-clouds, as well as a robot's initial and desired goal configurations and recursively calls itself to bidirectionally generate connectable paths. In addition to finding directly connectable and near-optimal paths in a single pass, we show that worst-case theoretical guarantees can be proven if we merge this neural network strategy with classical sample-based planners in a hybrid approach while still retaining significant computational and optimality improvements. To learn the MPNet models, we present an active continual learning approach that enables MPNet to learn from streaming data and actively ask for expert demonstrations when needed, drastically reducing data for training. We validate MPNet against gold-standard and state-of-the-art planning methods in a variety of problems from 2D to 7D robot configuration spaces in challenging and cluttered environments, with results showing significant and consistently stronger performance metrics, and motivating neural planning in general as a modern strategy for solving motion planning problems efficiently.

Constrained Motion Planning Networks X Artificial Intelligence

Constrained motion planning is a challenging field of research, aiming for computationally efficient methods that can find a collision-free path connecting a given start and goal by transversing zero-volume constraint manifolds for a given planning problem. These planning problems come up surprisingly frequently, such as in robot manipulation for performing daily life assistive tasks. However, few solutions to constrained motion planning are available, and those that exist struggle with high computational time complexity in finding a path solution on the manifolds. To address this challenge, we present Constrained Motion Planning Networks X (CoMPNetX). It is a neural planning approach, comprising a conditional deep neural generator and discriminator with neural gradients-based fast projections to the constraint manifolds. We also introduce neural task and scene representations conditioned on which the CoMPNetX generates implicit manifold configurations to turbo-charge any underlying classical planner such as Sampling-based Motion Planning methods for quickly solving complex constrained planning tasks. We show that our method, equipped with any constrained-adherence technique, finds path solutions with high success rates and lower computation times than state-of-the-art traditional path-finding tools on various challenging scenarios.

Motion Planning Networks Artificial Intelligence

Fast and efficient motion planning algorithms are crucial for many state-of-the-art robotics applications such as self-driving cars. Existing motion planning methods such as RRT*, A*, and D*, become ineffective as their computational complexity increases exponentially with the dimensionality of the motion planning problem. To address this issue, we present a neural network-based novel planning algorithm which generates end-to-end collision-free paths irrespective of the obstacles' geometry. The proposed method, called MPNet (Motion Planning Network), comprises of a Contractive Autoencoder which encodes the given workspaces directly from a point cloud measurement, and a deep feedforward neural network which takes the workspace encoding, start and goal configuration, and generates end-to-end feasible motion trajectories for the robot to follow. We evaluate MPNet on multiple planning problems such as planning of a point-mass robot, rigid-body, and 7 DOF Baxter robot manipulators in various 2D and 3D environments. The results show that MPNet is not only consistently computationally efficient in all 2D and 3D environments but also show remarkable generalization to completely unseen environments. The results also show that computation time of MPNet consistently remains less than 1 second which is significantly lower than existing state-of-the-art motion planning algorithms. Furthermore, through transfer learning, the MPNet trained in one scenario (e.g., indoor living places) can also quickly adapt to new scenarios (e.g., factory floors) with a little amount of data.

Efficient Heuristic Generation for Robot Path Planning with Recurrent Generative Model Artificial Intelligence

Robot path planning is difficult to solve due to the contradiction between optimality of results and complexity of algorithms, even in 2D environments. To find an optimal path, the algorithm needs to search all the state space, which costs a lot of computation resource. To address this issue, we present a novel recurrent generative model (RGM) which generates efficient heuristic to reduce the search efforts of path planning algorithm. This RGM model adopts the framework of general generative adversarial networks (GAN), which consists of a novel generator that can generate heuristic by refining the outputs recurrently and two discriminators that check the connectivity and safety properties of heuristic. We test the proposed RGM module in various 2D environments to demonstrate its effectiveness and efficiency. The results show that the RGM successfully generates appropriate heuristic in both seen and new unseen maps with a high accuracy, demonstrating the good generalization ability of this model. We also compare the rapidly-exploring random tree star (RRT*) with generated heuristic and the conventional RRT* in four different maps, showing that the generated heuristic can guide the algorithm to find both initial and optimal solution in a faster and more efficient way.