A motion planning puzzle

The puzzles in Figure 1.1 can be easily discretized because of the regularity and symmetries involved in moving the parts. Figure 1.2 shows a problem that lacks these properties and requires planning in a continuous space. Such problems are solved by using the motion planning techniques of Part II. This puzzle was designed to frustrate both humans and motion planning algorithms. It can be solved in a few minutes on a standard personal computer (PC) using the techniques in Section 5.5. Many other puzzles have been developed as benchmarks for evaluating planning algorithms.

Figure 1.2: Remember puzzles like this? Imagine trying to solve one with an algorithm. The goal is to pull the two bars apart. This example is called the Alpha 1.0 Puzzle. It was created by Boris Yamrom and posted as a research benchmark by Nancy Amato at Texas A&M University. This solution and animation were made by James Kuffner (see [558] for the full movie).

Steven M LaValle 2012-04-20