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Adaptive motion planning framework by learning from demonstration

Xiao Li (Northeastern University School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Shenyang, China)
Hongtai Cheng (Northeastern University School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Shenyang, China)
Xiaoxiao Liang (Northeastern University School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Shenyang, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 24 June 2019

Issue publication date: 5 August 2019




Learning from demonstration (LfD) provides an intuitive way for non-expert persons to teach robots new skills. However, the learned motion is typically fixed for a given scenario, which brings serious adaptiveness problem for robots operating in the unstructured environment, such as avoiding an obstacle which is not presented during original demonstrations. Therefore, the robot should be able to learn and execute new behaviors to accommodate the changing environment. To achieve this goal, this paper aims to propose an improved LfD method which is enhanced by an adaptive motion planning technique.


The LfD is based on GMM/GMR method, which can transform original off-line demonstrations into a compressed probabilistic model and recover robot motion based on the distributions. The central idea of this paper is to reshape the probabilistic model according to on-line observation, which is realized by the process of re-sampling, data partition, data reorganization and motion re-planning. The re-planned motions are not unique. A criterion is proposed to evaluate the fitness of each motion and optimize among the candidates.


The proposed method is implemented in a robotic rope disentangling task. The results show that the robot is able to complete its task while avoiding randomly distributed obstacles and thereby verify the effectiveness of the proposed method. The main contributions of the proposed method are avoiding unforeseen obstacles in the unstructured environment and maintaining crucial aspects of the motion which guarantee to accomplish a skill/task successfully.


Traditional methods are intrinsically based on motion planning technique and treat the off-line training data as a priori probability. The paper proposes a novel data-driven solution to achieve motion planning for LfD. When the environment changes, the off-line training data are revised according to external constraints and reorganized to generate new motion. Compared to traditional methods, the novel data-driven solution is concise and efficient.



Li, X., Cheng, H. and Liang, X. (2019), "Adaptive motion planning framework by learning from demonstration", Industrial Robot, Vol. 46 No. 4, pp. 541-552.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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