M. Akinc, K. E. Bekris, B. Y. Chen, A. M. Ladd, E. Plaku, and L. E. Kavraki, “Probabilistic Roadmaps of Trees for Parallel Computation of Multiple Query Roadmaps,” in Robotic Research: The Eleventh International Symposium, Springer, STAR 15, 2005, pp. 80–89.
We propose the combination of techniques that solve multiple queries for motion planning problems with single query planners in a motion planning framework that can be efficiently parallelized. In multiple query motion planning, a data structure is built during a preprocessing phase in order to quickly respond to on-line queries. Alternatively, in single query planning, there is no preprocessing phase and all computations occur during query resolution. This paper shows how to effectively combine a powerful sample-based method primarily designed for multiple query planning (the Probabilistic Roadmap Method - PRM) with sample-based tree methods that were primarily designed for single query planning (such as Expansive Space Trees, Rapidly Exploring Random Trees, and others). Our planner, which we call the Probabilistic Roadmap of Trees (PRT), uses a tree algorithm as a subroutine for PRM. The nodes of the PRM roadmap are now trees. We take advantage of the very powerful sampling schemes of recent tree planners to populate our roadmaps. The combined sampling scheme is in the spirit of the non-uniform sampling and refinement techniques employed in earlier work on PRM. PRT not only achieves a smooth spectrum between multiple query and single query planning but it combines advantages of both. We present experiments which show that PRT is capable of solving problems that cannot be addressed efficiently with PRM or single-query planners. A key advantage of PRT is that it is significantly more decoupled than PRM and sample-based tree planners. Using this property, we designed and implemented a parallel version of PRT. Our experiments show that PRT distributes well and can easily solve high dimensional problems that exhaust resources available to single machines.