Trajectory optimization for mobile manipulator motion planning
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State-of-the-art robotics research has been progressively focusing on autonomous robots that can operate in unconstrained environments and interact with people. Specifically, manipulation tasks in Ambient Assisted Living environments are complex, involving an unknown number of parameters. Recent years show a trend of successfully applied machine learning approaches affecting day-to-day life. Similar tendencies are perceivable in robotics, existing methods being enhanced with learning-based components. This thesis studies approaches for incorporating task-specific knowledge into the motion planning process that can be shared across a heterogeneous fleet of robots. A step towards data-driven strategies will allow the field to break away from manuallytweaked, heuristics- or state-machine-based solutions and provide good scaling properties, while maintaining operation safety around humans at a very high level. The presented work proposes a motion planning framework employing Learning from Demonstration to encode task-specific motions, facilitating skill-transfer and improving state-of-the-art in motion planning. Resulting algorithms are compared against other methods in a series of everyday tasks. While different optimisation methods have different benefits, it is possible to build them into systems that both generalise and scale well with the number of tasks and number of robot platforms. This thesis shows that optimisation-based planners are ideal for incorporating prior knowledge into a motion-planning system.