Moving a Chair through a Door: A Tutorial on Local Spatial Reasoning in Algorithmic Robotics

Godfried Toussaint

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Spatial reasoning problems in robotics may be categorised into two types: global and local. A typical problem of the global kind involves determining if a robot can navigate along a specified terrain from one specified (starting) point to another (target) point by means of a suitable path, subject to a variety of constraints. A quintessential example of local spatial reasoning is the determination of whether an object can pass through a specified opening. This paper presents a tutorial on the local spatial reasoning problem of deciding whether a given rigid convex object can pass through a specified convex aperture, and if possible, planning a sequence of motions to accomplish the task, in a computationally efficient manner. The exposition of this material is at the freshman and sophomore undergraduate levels, and is well suited to motivate computer science students in discrete mathematics courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012043
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 5 2018
Event2018 2nd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Applications and Technologies, AIAAT 2018 - Shanghai, China
Duration: Aug 8 2018Aug 10 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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