Motions in Microseconds via Vectorized Sampling-Based Planning

W. Thomason, Z. Kingston, and L. E. Kavraki, “Motions in Microseconds via Vectorized Sampling-Based Planning,” in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2024.


Modern sampling-based motion planning algorithms typically take between hundreds of milliseconds to dozens of seconds to find collision-free motions for high degree-of-freedom problems. This paper presents performance improvements of more than 500x over the state-of-the-art, bringing planning times into the range of microseconds and solution rates into the range of kilohertz, without specialized hardware. Our key insight is how to exploit fine-grained parallelism within sampling-based planners, providing generality-preserving algorithmic improvements to any such planner and significantly accelerating critical subroutines, such as forward kinematics and collision checking. We demonstrate our approach over a diverse set of challenging, realistic problems for complex robots ranging from 7 to 14 degrees-of-freedom. Moreover, we show that our approach does not require high-power hardware by also evaluating on a low-power single-board computer. The planning speeds demonstrated are fast enough to reside in the range of control frequencies and open up new avenues of motion planning research.

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