Home/The Planner Ensemble: Motion Planning by Executing Diverse Algorithms

The Planner Ensemble: Motion Planning by Executing Diverse Algorithms

Sanjiban Choudhury, Sankalp Arora and Sebastian Scherer
Conference Paper, Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, pp. 2389 – 2395, May, 2015

View Publication

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


Autonomous systems that navigate in unknown environments encounter a variety of planning problems. The success of any one particular planning strategy depends on the validity of assumptions it leverages about the structure of the problem, e.g., Is the cost map locally convex? Does the feasible state space have good connectivity? We address the problem of determining suitable motion planning strategies that can work on a diverse set of applications. We have developed a planning system that does this by running competing planners in parallel. In this paper, we present an approach that constructs a planner ensemble – a set of complementary planners that lever- age a diverse set of assumptions. Our approach optimizes the submodular selection criteria with a greedy approach and lazy evaluation. We seed our selection with learnt priors on planner performance, thus allowing us to solve new applications without evaluating every planner on that application. We present results in simulation where the selected ensemble outperforms the best single planner and does almost as well as an off-line planner. We also present results from an autonomous helicopter that has flown missions several kilometers long at speeds of up to 56m/s which involved avoiding unmapped mountains, no-fly zones and landing in cluttered areas with trees and buildings. This work opens the door on the more general problem of adaptive motion planning.

author = {Sanjiban Choudhury and Sankalp Arora and Sebastian Scherer},
title = {The Planner Ensemble: Motion Planning by Executing Diverse Algorithms},
booktitle = {Proceedings of IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation},
year = {2015},
month = {May},
pages = {2389 – 2395},
} 2018-10-04T14:54:26-04:00