SMUG Planner: A Safe Multi-Goal Planner for Mobile Robots in Challenging Environments

ICRA 2024(2024)

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Abstract
Robotic exploration or monitoring missions require mobile robots to autonomously and safely navigate between multiple target locations in potentially challenging environments. Currently, this type of multi-goal mission often relies on humans designing a set of actions for the robot to follow in the form of a path or waypoints. In this work, we consider the multi-goal problem of visiting a set of pre-defined targets, each of which could be visited from multiple potential locations. To increase autonomy in these missions, we propose a safe multi-goal (SMUG) planner that generates an optimal motion path to visit those targets. To increase safety and efficiency, we propose a hierarchical state validity checking scheme, which leverages robot-specific traversability learned in simulation. We use LazyPRM* with an informed sampler to accelerate collision-free path generation. Our iterative dynamic programming algorithm enables the planner to generate a path visiting more than ten targets within seconds. Moreover, the proposed hierarchical state validity checking scheme reduces the planning time by 30% compared to pure volumetric collision checking and increases safety by avoiding high-risk regions. We deploy the SMUG planner on the quadruped robot ANYmal and show its capability to guide the robot in multi-goal missions fully autonomously on rough terrain.
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Key words
Motion and Path Planning,Constrained Motion Planning
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