Planning Robot Motion


Work Area: Robotics (Sensing and Control)

Keywords robotics, motion planning, algebraic geometry, computational geometry, control theory

Start Date: 1 September 92 / Duration: 36 months / Status: running

[ participants / contact ]

Abstract PROMOTION is a research project dedicated to theoretical and practical issues in robot motion planning. The main goal is to create a synergy between four disciplines (robotics, algebraic geometry, computational geometry and control theory) involved in motion planning in order to provide theoretically well-founded methods that correspond to the motion planning issues in advanced robotics and its challenging real-world applications.


How can a robot decide what motions to carry out in order to achieve tasks in the physical world? This question is the theme of promotion.

Today, the existing industrial robot programming systems still have limited motion planning capabilities. On the other hand, the field of robotics is growing: space exploration, undersea work, intervention in hazardous environments, etc. Motion planning appears as one of the components of the necessary autonomy of the robots in such real contexts.

Approach and Methods

Due to the richness of the topic, motion planning became part of several disciplines, most notably robotics, computer science and mathematics, and has been developed along quite different directions with only little interaction. The coherence and the originality of PROMOTION comes from its interdisciplinarity. PROMOTION takes advantage of a common knowledge and understanding of the different theoretical issues in order to extend the state of the art in the domain.

The theoretical work undertaken under the present project will be aimed at solving concrete problems. Indeed, the high degree of versatility and autonomy required by advanced robotic applications constitutes a true challenge for the disciplines involved in motion planning. Theoretical studies in PROMOTION are mainly motivated by a practical efficiency.

Progress and Results

Research in PROMOTION will provide methods and their prototype implementations which have the potential of becoming key components of recent programmes in advanced robotics (VAP - project managed by the French spatial agency CNES; I.ARES - European project Eureka S 896; MRT - French project 91 S 0290, supported by the French Ministry of Research and Technology; P.F. Robotica - project 91.01946.PF67, funded by the Italian National Research Council; MARTHA - ESPRIT project 6668).


PROMOTION has provided 61 reports and generated some 20 software prototypes and experiments with a real robot. Almost all the reports correspond to accepted papers in the main conferences or journals in the domain: IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation, IEEE/RJS Int. Conf. on Intelligent Robots and Systems, ACM Symp. on Computational Geometry, IEEE Int. Conf. on Decision and Control, European Conference on Control, IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, International Journal on Robotics Research, International Journal of Computational geometry, IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control.

Real world applications include software simulating a delivery from a 3D model of pelvis and a fetal head, and an integrated algorithm planning the motions of the all-terrain mobile robot ADAM.

Latest Publications

Below are 5 publications from each of the sites, selected from the 61 PROMOTION reports so far produced:

Information Dissemination Activies

A one-week spring school on Robot Motion Planning was organised in Rodez (France) in March 1993. This school gathered 60 participants from 9 countries (Austria, Italy, France, Israel, Norway, Spain, The Netherlands, USA) and 17 institutions. Some of the best specialists in control theory, computational geometry and mathematics accepted the invitation of PROMOTION to give a lecture. A general workshop was held in September 1993 in Mandelieu (France).


Ave. du Colonel Roche 7


Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya - E
Ecole Normale Supérieure - F
Università di Roma - La Sapienza - I
Univeristeit van Utrecht - NL


Dr. J.-P. Laumond
tel +33/61-33 63 47 (direct), +33/61-33 64 69 (Secretary)
fax +33/61-33 64 55

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PROMOTION - 6546, August 1994

please address enquiries to the ESPRIT Information Desk

html version of synopsis by Nick Cook