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Deep Learning Can Significantly Accelerate Grasp-Optimized Motion Planning

Publication Date: November 18, 2020

Deep Learning Can Significantly Accelerate Grasp-Optimized Motion Planning. Jeffrey Ichnowski, Yahav Avigal, Vishal Satish, Ken Goldberg. Science Robotics Journal. V5(48), 18 Nov 2020. [Paper] [Video].


Robots for picking in e-commerce warehouses require rapid computing of efficient and smooth robot arm motions between varying configurations. Recent results integrate grasp analysis with arm motion planning to compute optimal smooth arm motions; however, computation times on the order of tens of seconds dominate motion times. Recent advances in deep learning allow neural networks to quickly compute these motions; however, they lack the precision required to produce kinematically and dynamically feasible motions. While infeasible, the network-computed motions approximate the optimized results. The proposed method warm starts the optimization process by using the approximate motions as a starting point from which the optimizing motion planner refines to an optimized and feasible motion with few iterations. In experiments, the proposed deep learning– based warm-started optimizing motion planner reduces compute and motion time when compared to a samplingbased asymptotically optimal motion planner and an optimizing motion planner. When applied to grasp-optimized motion planning, the results suggest that deep learning can reduce the computation time by two orders of magnitude (300×), from 29 s to 80 ms, making it practical for e-commerce warehouse picking.