A Sequential Bi-criteria Search Algorithm for Robot Path Planning in the Box Pushing Problem



In the Box Push Planning problem, the aim is to find a path for a robot that transfers a movable object from an initial to a target position by merely pushing it. Due to the irreversibility of object movements, deadlocks are the main challenge in this problem, making it NP-complete and PSPACE-hard, even in discrete workspaces. While all our studied previous researches have addressed this problem for minimizing the number of box pushes, in this paper the objective function of the problem incorporates a combination of the movements of both the box and the pushing robot. Furthermore, a new method called Sequential Bi-criteria Search (SBS) has been proposed for solving the single-box push planning problem on grids. The SBS applies different cost criteria in two consecutive phases: first the path length of only the box from its initial to target positions is minimized, and then the overall objective function (which considers the robot’s movements as well) is minimized. The proposed method is optimal and complete, and experimental results showed that its search tree size and runtime are significantly less than both the standard and improved A* search. The properties of SBS are discussed in detail, and it is shown that it can be utilized to solve other constraint satisfaction problems, as well as multi-criteria optimization problems by sequentially relaxing its criteria and solving incremental subproblems through consecutive phases.


Box push planning problem Robot path planning Deadlock Sequential bi-criteria search (SBS) Constraint satisfaction problems 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Industrial and Systems EngineeringTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran

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