This paper is based on a path planning approach we reported earlier for industrial robot arms with 6 degrees of freedom in an on-line given 3D environment. It has on-line capabilities by searching in an implicit and descrete configuration space and detecting collisions in the Cartesian workspace by distance computation based on the given CAD model. Here, we present different methods for specifying the C-space discretization. Besides the usual uniform and heuristic discretization, we investigate two versions of an optimal discretization for an user-predefined Cartesian resolution. The different methods are experimentally evaluated. Additionally, we provide a set of 3- dimensional benchmark problems for a fair comparison of path planner. For each benchmark, the run-times of our planner are between only 3 and 100 seconds on a Pentium PC with 133 MHz.
We present a parallel path planning method that is able to automatically handle multiple goal configurations as input. There are two basic approaches, goal switching and bi-directional search, which are combined in the end. Goal switching dynamically selects a fa-vourite goal depending on some distance function. The bi-directional search supports the backward search direction from the goal to the start configuration, which is probably faster. The multi-directional search with goal switching combines the advantages of goal switching and bi-directional search. Altogether, the planning system is enabled to select one of the pref-erable goal configuration by itself. All concepts are experimentally validated for a set of benchmark problems consisting of an industrial robot arm with six degrees of freedom in a 3D environment.