Motion planning strategy for finding an object with a mobile manipulator in three-dimensional environments

Judith Espinoza, Alejandro Sarmiento, Rafael Murrieta-Cid, Seth Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this paper, we investigate the problem of minimizing the average time required to find an object in a known three-dimensional environment. We consider a 7-d.o.f. mobile manipulator with an 'eye-in-hand' sensor. In particular, we address the problem of searching for an object whose unknown location is characterized by a known probability density function. We present a discrete formulation, in which we use a visibility-based decomposition of the environment. We introduce a sample-based convex cover to estimate the size and shape of visibility regions in three dimensions. The resulting convex regions are exploited to generate trajectories that make a compromise between moving the manipulator base and moving the robotic arm. We also propose a practical method to approximate the visibility region in three dimensions of a sensor limited in both range and field of view. The quality and success of the generated paths depend significantly on the sensing robot capabilities. In this paper, we generate searching plans for a mobile manipulator equipped with a sensor limited in both field of view and range. We have implemented the algorithm and present simulation results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1627-1650
Number of pages24
JournalAdvanced Robotics
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - 2011


  • Search
  • mobile manipulator robot
  • path planning
  • three-dimensional visibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications


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