Planning optimal paths for industrial robots using a 3D surface model

Pi-Ying Cheng*, Der Chin Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work presents a novel method for planning the optimal path of a robot on a surface model that uses the Brute-Force algorithm and the plane expansion algorithm. The Brute-Force algorithm treats the entry angle as the same as the exit angle of each bend line on the shortest path between starting point and goal point. This algorithm solves some equations (each of which is a quartic in at most three variables) to find the optimal solution. The plane expansion algorithm conveniently yields the shortest path from starting point to goal point on the expanded plane. In the proposed method, the latter algorithm is used to find a partial shortest path on an expanding plane and the former is used to finding a partial shortest path on a more complex polyhedron or surface model. Results of the proposed method are compared with the calculated path to demonstrate the effectiveness of the method. Several illustrative examples demonstrate the versatility and effectiveness of the proposed method. The contribution of this work is to enable the shortest path to be found much more easily than by current methodologies, thus reducing the computing time required to plan the optimal paths on a complex polyhedron.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics and Automation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2003


  • Brute-Force algorithm
  • Optimal paths
  • Plane expansion algorithm
  • Shortest path planning

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