K-color multi-robot motion planning

Kiril Solovey*, Dan Halperin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We present a simple and natural extension of the multi-robot motion planning problem where the robots are partitioned into groups (colors), such that in each group the robots are interchangeable. Every robot is no longer required to move to a specific target, but rather to some target placement that is assigned to its group. We call this problem k-color multi-robot motion planning and provide a sampling-based algorithm specifically designed for solving it. At the heart of the algorithm is a novel technique where the k-color problem is reduced to several discrete multi-robot motion planning problems. These reductions amplify basic samples into massive collections of free placements and paths for the robots. We demonstrate the performance of the algorithm by an implementation for the case of disc robots and polygonal robots translating in the plane. We show that the algorithm successfully and efficiently copes with a variety of challenging scenarios, involving many robots, while a simplified version of this algorithm, that can be viewed as an extension of a prevalent sampling-based algorithm for the k-color case, fails even on simple scenarios. Interestingly, our algorithm outperforms a well established implementation of PRM for the standard multi-robot problem, in which each robot has a distinct color.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-97
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


FundersFunder number
7th Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission
Seventh Framework Programme255827
Israel Science Foundation1102/11
Tel Aviv University


    • Motion planning
    • multi-robot motion planning
    • pebble motion on graphs
    • sampling-based algorithms


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