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Navigation among movable obstacles: Real-time reasoning in complex environments

By Mike Stilman and James J. Kuffner


In this paper, we address the problem of Navigation Among Movable Obstacles (NAMO): a practical extension to navigation for humanoids and other dexterous mobile robots. The robot is permitted to reconfigure the environment by moving obstacles and clearing free space for a path. Simpler problems have been shown to be P-SPACE hard. For real-world scenarios with large numbers of movable obstacles, complete motion planning techniques are largely intractable. This paper presents a resolution complete planner for a subclass of NAMO problems. Our planner takes advantage of the navigational structure through state-space decomposition and heuristic search. The planning complexity is reduced to the difficulty of the specific navigation task, rather than the dimensionality of the multiobject domain. We demonstrate real-time results for spaces that contain large numbers of movable obstacles. We also present a practical framework for single-agent search that can be used in algorithmic reasoning about this domain

Topics: NAMO, navigation, manipulation, planning, motion, movable obstacles
Year: 2004
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