Planning Architecture for Autonomous Robotics

One of the challenges in developing real-world autonomous robots is the need for integrating and rigorously testing high-level scripting, motion planning, perception, and control algorithms. For this purpose, we introduce an open-source cross-platform software architecture called OpenRAVE, the Open Robotics and Animation Virtual Environment. OpenRAVE is targeted for real-world autonomous robot applications, and includes a seamless integration of 3-D simulation, visualization, planning, scripting and control. A plugin architecture allows users to easily write custom controllers or extend functionality. With OpenRAVE plugins, any planning algorithm, robot controller, or sensing subsystem can be distributed and dynamically loaded at run-time, which frees developers from struggling with monolithic code-bases. Users of OpenRAVE can concentrate on the development of planning and scripting aspects of a problem without having to explicitly manage the details of robot kinematics and dynamics, collision detection, world updates, and robot control. The OpenRAVE architecture provides a flexible interface that can be used in conjunction with other popular robotics packages such as Player and ROS because it is focused on autonomous motion planning and high-level scripting rather than low-level control and message protocols. OpenRAVE also supports a powerful network scripting environment which makes it simple to control and monitor robots and change execution flow during run-time. One of the key advantages of open component architectures is that they enable the robotics research community to easily share and compare algorithms.
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