Advanced Robotic Planning (Spring 2011)

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Time and Place

Tu/Thu 9:30-10:50 a.m. in 344 MEB.


See the course catalog for ECE 550 or for AE 583.


This course will explore open problems in robot motion planning. We will begin with a review of classical material (configuration space, artificial potential fields, approximate decompositions, roadmaps, sampling-based algorithms, nonholonomic constraints, representations of uncertainty) and then will proceed to discuss topics of current interest, based on a selection of papers from the literature.


You have three responsibilities in this course:

  1. (20%) Present a paper. You will select one paper from a list TBA, and will give a 60-minute lecture on this paper to your colleagues in class, on a day TBA (during the last 6-8 weeks of the semester). You are required to provide a draft of your slides and to discuss this draft with Profs. Bretl and Hutchinson no later than two weeks prior to the day of presentation.
  2. (20%) Review a paper. You will be assigned one paper that has been submitted to a robotics conference in the area of robot motion planning, and will write a critical review of this paper. The paper will be assigned on approximately March 21, and the review will be due on approximately April 11.
  3. (60%) Write a paper. You will complete a research project on a topic of mutual interest both to you and to the instructors. Deliverables are as follows:
    1. Topic (5%)
      • Due at 5PM on Jan 27.
      • It should be 1 page.
    2. Full Proposal (10%)
      • Due at 5PM on Feb 24.
      • It should be 4 pages. It should contain a clear problem statement, a review of related work, a method of approach, and a milestone of your own choosing.
      • As part of this assignment, you will be asked to review the proposals of two colleagues.
    3. Milestone (5%)
      • Due at TBA on Mar 29-31.
      • Discuss your preliminary results with the instructors.
    4. Final Paper (20%)
      • Due at 5PM on Apr 26.
      • It should be 8 pages, written in IEEE conference format. Use of the LaTeX template is strongly encouraged.
      • As part of this assignment, you will be asked to review the papers of two colleagues.
    5. Final Presentation (20%)
      • Due at TBA on May 5.
      • It should be 15 minutes, plus 5 minutes for questions.


Consent of the instructor. (If you have taken and done well in any one of ECE470, ECE515, or CS440, then you are in good shape.)

Useful Texts

Schedule (currently in random order!)

Date Topic Papers Speaker
Tu, Feb 15 differential geometry and nonholonomic systems Tim
Tu, Mar 1 PCA-guided adaptive sampling Olaoluwa
Th, Mar 3 kinodynamic motion planning Gyu
Tu, Mar 8 LQR-trees Gokhan
Th, Mar 10 mobipulation Ammar
Tu, Mar 15 pushing Justin
Th, Mar 17 the relationship between continuum robots and manipulation of deformable objects Dennis
Tu, Mar 29 motion primitives and locally-weighted regression Bilal
Th, Mar 31 apprenticeship learning Miles
Tu, Apr 5 path integrals for reinforcement learning Navid
Th, Apr 7 gaussian process models for SLAM Junho
Tu, Apr 12 cylindrical algebraic decomposition Sam
Th, Apr 14 coverage planning Colin
Tu, Apr 19 sensor placement Max
Th, Apr 21 search decisions Devin
Tu, Apr 26 distributed control of coverage in sensor networks Hyongju
Th, Apr 28      
Tu, May 3      

Old Versions of This Course

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