Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

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Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:
Zefran, M., V. Kumar and C. Croke. "On the generation of smooth three-dimensional rigid body motions." IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, Vol. 14(4). p. 576-589.

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This paper addresses the problem of generating smooth trajectories between an initial and final position and orientation in space. The main idea is to define a functional depending on velocity or its derivatives that measures the smoothness of a trajectory and find trajectories that minimize this functional. In order to ensure that the computed trajectories are independent of the parameterization of positions and orientations, we use the notions of Riemannian metric and covariant derivatives from differential geometry and formulate the problem as a variational problem on the Lie group of spatial rigid body displacements, SE (3). We show that by choosing an appropriate measure of smoothness, the trajectories can be made to satisfy boundary conditions on the velocities or higher order derivatives. Dynamically smooth trajectories can be obtained by incorporating the inertia of the system into the definition of the Riemannian metric. We state the necessary conditions for the shortest distance, minimum acceleration and minimum jerk trajectories. Analytical expressions for the smooth trajectories are derived for some special cases. We also provide several examples of the general case where the trajectories are computed numerically.



Date Posted: 14 September 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.