IROS 2011 Tutorial: Motion Planning for Real Robots

IROS 2011 Tutorial: Motion Planning for Real Robots

Format: Full day tutorial

Date: Sunday, September 25, 2011

URL: Slides and documentation from the tutorial are now posted on the tutorial website: IROS 2011 Tutorial on Motion Planning for Real Robots.


If you are interested in attending this tutorial, please provide us some more information about you using this form. Filling this form will help us plan the tutorial better. Please note that you will still have to register separately on the conference website for this tutorial when you register for the conference itself.


This full-day tutorial will teach both novice and experienced participants how to setup, configure and use motion
planning on a real robot. Novice users can expect to learn how to set up, configure and execute the perceptual, kinematic,
planning and execution components required for motion planning on an advanced multiple degree of freedom robot.
Expert users will be able to explore the motion planners in more details, focusing on how they can be reconfigured for
particular tasks. The tutorial will be based on a set of tools within the OMPL (Open Motion Planning Library) and
ROS (Robot Operating System) software. The participants will have access to simulated environments and real robots
(the Willow Garage PR2 robots) for a hands-on experience in using motion planning with real robots. The tutorial will
conclude with an examination of case studies based on suggestions from the participants and organizers, highlighting
how the motion planners can be configured for particular robots or motion planning scenarios.


Sachin Chitta and E. Gil Jones
Willow Garage, Inc.

Ioan Sucan, Mark Moll, and Lydia E. Kavraki
Rice University

Tentative schedule

08:30–09:00 Overview and Introduction
09:00–09:30 Background on concepts in sampling-based motion planning
09:30–10:15 OMPL and
10:15–10:45 Coffee break
10:45–11:30 Introduction to ROS and connection to OMPL
11:30–12:00 Overview of the simulation environment
12:00-12:10 Live demo
12:10-13:30 Lunch
13:30–15:00 Hands-on programming, part I
15:00–15:30 Coffee break
15:30–17:00 Hands-on programming, part II

Slides and documentation from the tutorial are now posted on the tutorial website: IROS 2011 Tutorial on Motion Planning for Real Robots.

Motivation and objectives

Motion planning is easy to understand, yet state-of-the-art algorithms to solve motion planning problems in a general
fashion can be hard to implement. Furthermore, integrating motion planning algorithms in a bigger software system
targeted at specific robots is also challenging. The OMPL library implements many sampling-based algorithms and
makes it easy to integrate with larger software systems and tailor to specific systems. ROS provides a very rich software
infrastructure with perception, kinematics and execution components that can be integrated with planning to create a
complete motion planning and execution pipeline. The tutorial aims to provide a high-level description of the motion
planning algorithms in OMPL coupled with implementation level details on configuring motion planners on real robots.
The tutorial will provide plenty of opportunity for participants to get hands-on experience with solving motion planning
problems in real-world environments, both in simulation and on the robot using real sensor data.
After the tutorial participants should be able to:

  • write code to define a configuration space and the control space (if applicable) for a robotic system of interest
  • define motion planning queries and solve them with a planning algorithm
  • visualize the results
  • use the sensor data and environment models that accessible through various ROS interfaces for motion planning
  • solve and execute motion planning queries for the PR2 hardware platform.

The skills obtained in this tutorial are easily transferrable to the rapidly growing list of other robots on which ROS can
run (see

Primary/secondary audience

We are primarily targeting participants who would like to learn to implement motion planners on real robots using
realtime sensing. Some familiarity with ROS is desired but not essential. This will be a hands-on tutorial, so
programming experience in C++/Python is desired. A secondary audience is researchers in motion planning who would
like to build on the tools and components available in OMPL and ROS to create more advanced motion planners. This
tutorial will also be of interest to educators wanting to use a stable, well-featured software tool for teaching motion