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Combined Task and Motion Planning as Classical AI Planning

by   Jonathan Ferrer-Mestres, et al.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Planning in robotics is often split into task and motion planning. The high-level, symbolic task planner decides what needs to be done, while the motion planner checks feasibility and fills up geometric detail. It is known however that such a decomposition is not effective in general as the symbolic and geometrical components are not independent. In this work, we show that it is possible to compile task and motion planning problems into classical AI planning problems; i.e., planning problems over finite and discrete state spaces with a known initial state, deterministic actions, and goal states to be reached. The compilation is sound, meaning that classical plans are valid robot plans, and probabilistically complete, meaning that valid robot plans are classical plans when a sufficient number of configurations is sampled. In this approach, motion planners and collision checkers are used for the compilation, but not at planning time. The key elements that make the approach effective are 1) expressive classical AI planning languages for representing the compiled problems in compact form, that unlike PDDL make use of functions and state constraints, and 2) general width-based search algorithms capable of finding plans over huge combinatorial spaces using weak heuristics only. Empirical results are presented for a PR2 robot manipulating tens of objects, for which long plans are required.


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