Z. Kingston, C. Chamzas, and L. E. Kavraki, “Using Experience to Improve Constrained Planning on Foliations for Multi-Modal Problems,” in IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2021.
Many robotic manipulation problems are multi-modal—they consist of a discrete set of mode families (e.g., whether an object is grasped or placed) each with a continuum of parameters (e.g., where exactly an object is grasped). Core to these problems is solving single-mode motion plans, i.e., given a mode from a mode family (e.g., a specific grasp), find a feasible motion to transition to the next desired mode. Many planners for such problems have been proposed, but complex manipulation plans may require prohibitively long computation times due to the difficulty of solving these underlying single-mode problems. It has been shown that using experience from similar planning queries can significantly improve the efficiency of motion planning. However, even though modes from the same family are similar, they impose different constraints on the planning problem, and thus experience gained in one mode cannot be directly applied to another. We present a new experience-based framework, ALEF , for such multi-modal planning problems. ALEF learns using paths from single-mode problems from a mode family, and applies this experience to novel modes from the same family. We evaluate ALEF on a variety of challenging problems and show a significant improvement in the efficiency of sampling-based planners both in isolation and within a multi-modal manipulation planner.