Path Planning for a Reconfigurable Robot in Extreme Environments

Wei Cheah, Tomas B. Garcia Nathan, Keir Groves, Simon Watson, Barry Lennox

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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In recent years, the inspection of extreme environments using mobile robots has gained traction, as robotsare able to mitigate the risk placed on humans and at timesachieve what humans are unable to. In some scenarios, therobot is required to operate in cluttered environments withhighly restricted access through 150 mm diameter ports. TheMIRRAX robot has been designed to meet these challenges withthe capability of reconfiguring itself to both access environmentsand navigate through tightly spaced obstacles. The joints usedfor reconfiguration of the robot introduce additional challengesfor path planning due to the significant changes that can occurbetween adjacent poses. This paper presents a global path planner for MIRRAX. A Voronoi diagram is first used to generatea sparse graph to represent the topology of the environment,which allows for fast, coarse path planning. The coarse path isthen refined via a heuristic pose fitting routine to ensure thatthe path is both collision-free and reduce unnecessary jointangle changes. The planner has been evaluated in simulation,demonstrating the feasibility of generating collision-free pathsthrough narrow pathways for a reconfigurable robot.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Mar 2021
EventIEEE ICRA 2021 - Xi'an, China
Duration: 31 May 20214 Jun 2021


ConferenceIEEE ICRA 2021
Internet address


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