Algorithms and Systems for Manipulating Multiple Objects

Zherong Pan, Andy Zeng, Yunzhu Li, Jingjin Yu, Kris Hauser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Robot manipulation of multiple objects is an important topic for applications including warehouse automation, service robots performing cleaning, and large-scale object sorting. Although problems can range in complexity from a few objects to large disordered piles, autonomy remains a significant technical challenge due to the high-dimensional joint configuration space of the robot and all objects, the complex dynamics of object interaction, and the ambiguity and occlusion caused by clutter. This article surveys a broad range of classical and state-of-the-art research in multiobject manipulation and categorizes them along the dimensions of tasks, perception, predictive models, and decision-making algorithms. It also covers emerging trends and open problems faced in the ongoing effort to realize robust multiobject manipulation systems in practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Grasping
  • Manipulators
  • manufacturing automation
  • Navigation
  • Prediction algorithms
  • Robot kinematics
  • robot motion
  • robot vision systems
  • Robots
  • Sorting
  • Task analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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