Time lapse image of the robot using the new MIT algorithm that results in more efficient and predictable movement
Time lapse image of the robot movement using the standard algorithm
Time lapse image of the robot movement using the standard algorithm (top) compared to the new MIT algorithm (Image: Sertac Karaman)
The act of picking up a coffee cup from a table, despite being relatively simple for a human being, actually involves extremely complex calculations as we spontaneously plan a trajectory around obstacles in free space to reach the cup. This complexity means such tasks can be incredibly difficult for an autonomous robot and results in most motion-planning algorithms settling for any path – no matter how inefficient – that will allow the robot to achieve its goal. Now researchers have developed a new motion-planning system that lets robots save time and energy by moving more efficiently, which also makes their movements more predictable - an important consideration if they are to interact with humans.
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