In this paper, the problem of path planning for robot manipulators with six degrees of freedom in an on-line provided three-dimensional environment is investigated. As a basic approach, the best-first algorithm is used to search in the implicit descrete configuration space. Collisions are detected in the Cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation based on the given CAD model. The basic approach is extended by three simple mechanisms and results in a heuristic hierarchical search. This is done by adjusting the stepsize of the search to the distance between the robot and the obstacles. As a first step, we show encouraging experimental results with two degrees of freedom for five typical benchmark problems.
This paper presents a new approach to parallel path planning for industrial robot arms with six degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. The method is based a best-first search algorithm and needs no essential off-line computations. The algorithm works in an implicitly discrete configuration space. Collisions are detected in the Cartesian workspace by hierarchical distance computation based on polyhedral models of the robot and the obstacles. By decomposing the 6D configuration space into hypercubes and cyclically mapping them onto multiple processing units, a good load distribution can be achieved. We have implemented the parallel path planner on a workstation cluster with 9 PCs and tested the planner for several benchmark environments. With optimal discretisation, the new approach usually shows very good speedups. In on-line provided environments with static obstacles, the parallel planning times are only a few seconds.