Carnegie Mellon University
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Subdimensional Expansion for Multirobot Path Planning

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-05-01, 00:00 authored by Glenn WagnerGlenn Wagner, Howie Choset

Planning optimal paths for large numbers of robots is computationally expensive. In this paper, we introduce a new framework for multirobot path planning called subdimensional expansion, which initially plans for each robot individually, and then coordinates motion among the robots as needed. More specifically, subdimensional expansion initially creates a one-dimensional search space embedded in the joint configuration space of the multirobot system. When the search space is found to be blocked during planning by a robotrobot collision, the dimensionality of the search space is locally increased to ensure that an alternative path can be found. As a result, robots are only coordinated when necessary, which reduces the computational cost of finding a path. We present the M* algorithm, an implementation of subdimensional expansion that adapts the A* planner to perform efficient multirobot planning. M* is proven to be complete and to find minimal cost paths. Simulation results are presented that show that M* outperforms existing optimal multirobot path planning algorithms


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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version is available at



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