ME/CS 132b, Spring 2015: Difference between revisions

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| 23 Apr (Th)
| 23 Apr (Th)
| D* Algorithm, Intro to Sampling-Based Planners
| D* Algorithm, Intro to Sampling-Based Planners
| LaValle Chapters 12.3, 5
| LaValle Chapters 12.3.2, 5
| -N/A-
| -N/A-

Revision as of 02:15, 1 May 2015

Advanced Robotics: Navigation and Vision


  • Vasu Raman,
  • Office hours: After class or by appointment

Lectures: Tue/Thu, 1:00-2:25pm, 24 BBB

Teaching Assistants

  • TBA
  • Office hours: TBA

Course Website:,_Spring_2015

Course Piazza Site:


Course Information


There are no formal prerequisites for the course, and some of the required background material will be reviewed during the first weeks of lecture. The instructional content of ME/CS 132(b) is largely independent of the material in ME/CS 132(a), but students are expected to be able to use the experimental lab equipment introduced in the lab at the end of ME/CS 132(a), and are expected to be able to apply the sensor processing and mapping techniques learned in the first quarter. The greater emphasis on a final project in this quarter will require a good comfort level with computer programming in C, C++ or Python.


ME/CS 132(b) is primarily a project-based course, and sixty percent (60%) of the grade will be based on a final project which is due during finals period. The final project can be done in teams with the instructor's approval. The grade will also be based on 2 homeworks (20% of total grade) and 2 lab assignments (20% of total grade).

  • Homework: Homework is usually due ten days after it is assigned, and is intended to test your comprehension of material covered during lectures. Instructions for submission will be provided with each homework.
  • Labs: Students will form groups of 2-3 people and perform lab experiments together. The lab will consist of implementing and testing basic algorithms on a mobile robot, and demonstrating the result, as well as submitting a copy of the code underlying the lab demonstration. Lab 1 is intended to review control of the differential drive robots in the lab, and introduce some additional motion planning challenges that were abstracted for you in ME/CS 132(a). Lab 2 will occur after most of the course material has been covered in lecture, and is intended to help you prepare for the final project. Its timing is also intended to spark ideas for the final project proposal, so students are advised to use it as an exploratory device rather than stick to the bare bones of the assignment.

If you have any requests or concerns with respect to accessibility in the lab, please contact course staff before the first lab session. You may find additional helpful resources at http://diversitycenter.

Collaboration Policy

Students are encouraged to discuss and collaborate with others on the homework. However, you should write your own solution to show your own understanding of the material. You should not copy other people's solution or code as part of your solution. You are allowed to consult the instructors, the TAs, and/or other students. Outside reference materials can be used except for solutions from prior years or similar courses taught at other universities. Outside materials must be cited if used. All our activities in this course will be governed by the Caltech Honor Code.


Students are highly encouraged to post questions and answers on the course Piazza site.

  • The site will be monitored on business days by the course staff. Students can expect an answer within one business day.
  • Students are expected to communicate in a professional manner.

Course Texts

There is only one required textbook, which is freely available on the web:

  • Planning Algorithms by Steven M. LaValle (Cambridge Univ. Press, New York, 2006).
  • The book website is here; If you plan to continue work in the field of robotics, then you should consider buying the text. A copy has been placed on reserve at the library.

The following textbook used last quarter will continue to be a useful optional reference:

  • Probabilistic Robotics by Sebastian Thrun, Wolfram Burgard, and Dieter Fox, MIT Press, 2005.

This book is most likely to come in handy for some choices of final project. If you have bought the above book, then hold on to it for this quarter. If you haven't yet got the book, it is not necessary to purchase it, as there is very little specific information from that text that is needed this quarter. In any case, a copy has been placed on reserve at the library.

Lecture Schedule/handouts/homeworks/lab

Week Date Topic Reading Homework
1 31 Mar (Tu) Course Overview, Introduction to Motion Planning LaValle Chapter 1 -N/A-
2 Apr (Th) Reference Frames, Configuration Spaces and Kinematics LaValle 3.2, 3.3, 4.2, 4.3 Lab 1
due 04/14/15
2 7 Apr (Tu) No class -- Lab Week -N/A-
9 Apr (Th) Potential Functions and Navigation Functions LaValle Chapter 8 -N/A-
3 14 Apr (Tu) Cell Decompositions, Roadmaps, Voronoi Decomposition and Visibility Graphs LaValle Chapter 6 -N/A-
16 Apr (Th) No class -N/A-
4 21 Apr (Tu) Graph Search LaValle Chapter 2 Homework 1
due 04/28/15
23 Apr (Th) D* Algorithm, Intro to Sampling-Based Planners LaValle Chapters 12.3.2, 5 -N/A-
5 28 Apr (Tu) Sampling-Based Methods: PRM, RRT and variants LaValle Chapter 5 Homework 2
due 05/06/15
30 Apr (Th) Sensor-Based Planning: Bug Algorithms LaValle Chapter 12.3.3 Lab 2
due 05/15/15
6 5 May (Tu) No class - Lab Week -N/A-
7 May (Th) No class - Lab Week Project Proposal
due 05/08/15
7 12 May (Tu) No class - Lab Week -N/A-
14 May (Th) No class - Lab Week -N/A-
8 19 May (Tu) Multi-Robot Motion Planning (tentative), Project team meetings -N/A-
21 May (Th) Special Topics (TBD) -N/A-
9 26 May (Tu) No class - Project Lab Week -N/A-
28 May (Th) No class - Project Lab Week -N/A-


  • Lab 1
    • Subject: controlling a differential drive robot
    • Due Date: Tues Apr 14, 2015 by 5pm.
  • Homework 1
  • Homework 2
    • Subject: 2D roadmaps
    • Due Date: Tues Apr 5, 2015 by 5pm.
  • Lab 2
    • Subject: sampling-based methods, sensor-based planning
    • Due Date: Fri May 15, 2013 by 5pm.

Final Project Information

  • Final Project
    • Pre-proposal Due Date: Fri May 8, 2015 by 5pm
    • Project Due Date: Wed June 10, 2015 by 5pm (Sat, June 6 by 5pm for seniors)