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Safe Path Planning for Polynomial Shape Obstacles via Control Barrier Functions and Logistic Regression

by   Chengyang Peng, et al.

Safe path planning is critical for bipedal robots to operate in safety-critical environments. Common path planning algorithms, such as RRT or RRT*, typically use geometric or kinematic collision check algorithms to ensure collision-free paths toward the target position. However, such approaches may generate non-smooth paths that do not comply with the dynamics constraints of walking robots. It has been shown that the control barrier function (CBF) can be integrated with RRT/RRT* to synthesize dynamically feasible collision-free paths. Yet, existing work has been limited to simple circular or elliptical shape obstacles due to the challenging nature of constructing appropriate barrier functions to represent irregular-shaped obstacles. In this paper, we present a CBF-based RRT* algorithm for bipedal robots to generate a collision-free path through complex space with polynomial-shaped obstacles. In particular, we used logistic regression to construct polynomial barrier functions from a grid map of the environment to represent arbitrarily shaped obstacles. Moreover, we developed a multi-step CBF steering controller to ensure the efficiency of free space exploration. The proposed approach was first validated in simulation for a differential drive model, and then experimentally evaluated with a 3D humanoid robot, Digit, in a lab setting with randomly placed obstacles.


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