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Technical Report

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Technical Report Number



Motion planning algorithms enable us to find feasible paths for moving objects. These algorithms utilize feasibility checks to differentiate valid paths from invalid ones. Unfortunately, the computationally expensive nature of such checks reduces the effectiveness of motion planning algorithms. However, by using hardware acceleration to speed up the feasibility checks, we can greatly enhance the performance of the motion planning algorithms. Of course, such acceleration is not limited to feasibility checks; other components of motion planning algorithms can also be accelerated using specially designed hardware. A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is a great platform to support such an acceleration. An FPGA is a collection of digital gates which can be reprogrammed at run time, i.e., it can be used as a CPU that reconfigures itself for a given task. In this paper, we study the feasibility of an FPGA based motion planning processor and evaluate its performance. In order to leverage its highly parallel nature and its modular structure, our processor utilizes the probabilistic roadmap method at its core. The modularity enables us to replace the feasibility criteria with other ones. The reconfigurability lets us run our processor in different roles, such as a motion planning co-processor, an autonomous motion planning processor or dedicated collision detection chip. Our experiments show that such a processor is not only feasible but also can greatly increase the performance of current algorithms.


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