Planning and Control

  • Planning and control are the components that endow robots with “intelligent behaviour”.

    In essence, planning and control answer the question of what the robot should do now, when each decision has long-term consequences. This question encompasses multiple levels, from mission planning which decides the high-level missions that the robot must undertake, to motion planning which decides efficient motion strategies for achieving the mission, to control which decides the optimal sequence of control inputs to accomplish the motion.

    When an asset has complex geometry, such as offshore structures and port facilities, robotic inspection from a distance becomes difficult, if not infeasible, due to obstructions. On the other hand, robotic inspection conducted at close proximity to the asset significantly increase the risk of collision, especially when the asset is located in a challenging environment (e.g., high winds, water currents). To alleviate these issues, all levels of planning and control must be able to account for uncertainty as well as for the robot’s kinematic and dynamic capabilities. This requires mission planning, motion planning, and control to be robustly entwined.