Safe Bipedal Path Planning via Control Barrier Functions for Polynomial Shape Obstacles Estimated Using Logistic Regression


Safe path planning is critical for bipedal robots to operate in safety-critical environments. Common path planning algorithms, such as RRT or RRT*, typically use geometric or kinematic collision check algorithms to ensure collision-free paths toward the target position. However, such approaches may generate non-smooth paths that do not comply with the dynamics constraints of walking robots. It has been shown that the control barrier function (CBF) can be integrated with RRT/RRTto synthesize dynamically feasible collision-free paths. Yet, existing work has been limited to simple circular or elliptical shape obstacles due to the challenging nature of constructing appropriate barrier functions to represent irregularly shaped obstacles. In this paper, we present a CBF-based RRT algorithm for bipedal robots to generate a collision-free path through space with multiple polynomial-shaped obstacles. In particular, we used logistic regression to construct polynomial barrier functions from a grid map of the environment to represent irregularly shaped obstacles. Moreover, we developed a multi-step CBF steering controller to ensure the efficiency of free space exploration. The proposed approach was first validated in simulation for a differential drive model, and then experimentally evaluated with a 3D humanoid robot, Digit, in a lab setting with randomly placed obstacles.

In 2023 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)