Real‐time collision avoidance algorithm for robotic manipulators

Paul Bosscher (Harris Corporation, Palm Bay, Florida, USA)
Daniel Hedman (Harris Corporation, Palm Bay, Florida, USA)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Publication date: 8 March 2011



The purpose of this paper is to present an algorithm for performing collision avoidance with robotic manipulators.


The method does not require any a priori knowledge of the motion of other objects in its environment. Moreover, it is computationally efficient enough to be implemented in real time. This is achieved by constructing limitations on the motion of a manipulator in terms of its allowable instantaneous velocity. Potential collisions and joint limits are formulated as linear inequality constraints. Selection of the optimal velocity is formulated as a convex optimization and is solved using an interior point method.


Experimental results with two industrial arms verify the effectiveness of the method and illustrate its ability to easily handle many simultaneous potential collisions.


The resulting algorithm allows arbitrary motions commanded to the robot to be modified on‐line in order to guarantee optimal real‐time collision avoidance behaviors.



Bosscher, P. and Hedman, D. (2011), "Real‐time collision avoidance algorithm for robotic manipulators", Industrial Robot, Vol. 38 No. 2, pp. 186-197.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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