Reactive Motion Planning for Rope Manipulation and Collision Avoidance using Aerial Robots

Liping Shi, Michael Pantic, Olav Andersson, Marco Tognon, Roland Siegwart, Rune Hylsberg Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In this work we address the challenging problem of manipulating a flexible link, like a rope, with an aerial robot. Inspired by spraying tasks in construction and maintenance scenarios, we consider the case in which an autonomous end-effector (e.g., a spray nozzle moved by a robot or a human operator) is connected to a fixed point by a rope (e.g., a hose). To avoid collisions between the rope and the environment while the end-effector moves, we propose the use of an aerial robot as a flying companion to properly manipulate the rope away from collisions. The aerial robot is attached to the rope between the end-effector and the fixed point. Assuming no direct control of the end-effector (e.g., when operated by a human), we design a reactive and fast motion planner for the aerial robot. Grounding on the theory of Forced Geometric Fabrics, we design a motion planner that generates trajectories to drive the aerial robot to follow the end-effector, while manipulating the rope to avoid collisions in cluttered environments. To include the complex behavior of the flexible link, we propose a rope model that estimates its real-time state under forces and position-based interactions, as well as collisions with obstacle surfaces. Finally, we evaluate the system behavior and the motion planner performance in simulations, as well as in real-world experiments on an original spray painting application.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2022
Number of pages8
Publication dateOct 2022
ISBN (Electronic)9781665479271
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Event2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2022) - Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 23 Oct 202227 Oct 2022


Conference2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2022)
Internet address
SeriesIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems

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