Workshop on Numerical optimization for Online multi-contact Motion Planning and control

Robotics: Science and Systems - June 22, 2019 - Freiburg, Germany


What if legged robots were able to generate dynamic motions in real-time while interacting with a complex environment? Such technology would represent a significant step forward the deployment of legged systems in real world scenarios. This means being able to replace humans in the execution of dangerous tasks and to collaborate with them in industrial applications.

Numerical optimization and data-driven algorithms can help us to tackle this challenge and enable motion planning and control for legged robotic systems in complex geometry environments (e.g. multi-contact scenarios). Indeed, when the complexity of the terrain increases, or when the execution of the requested task involves highly dynamic motions, numerical optimization and machine learning strategies are needed to automatically find feasible trajectories and control actions that could not otherwise be determined.

The presence of obstacles, possible disturbances and/or modeling errors makes it necessary to find those control policies in the order of milliseconds so that the robot can immediately compensate unexpected events and re-plan suitable reactions.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from all the relevant communities in legged locomotion such as: numerical optimization, machine learning (ML), model predictive control (MPC) and computational geometry in order to chart the most promising methods to address the above-mentioned scientific challenges.


  • Numerical optimization for legged locomotion
  • Fast (real-time or online) non-linear MPC and optimal control
  • Trajectory optimization through contacts
  • Computational geometry for generation loco-manipulation feasible motions
  • Multi-contact motion planning and control for highly dynamic and dexterous maneuvers
  • Accurate and soft contact modeling for numerical optimization
  • Combination of optimal control and machine learning formalism for data exploration and exploitation
  • Synchronization and blending of fast real-time control policies with slow online motion planning



9.00 - 9.15 Organizers Introductory remarks

9.15 - 9.45 Emo Todorov Acceleration-based methods for trajectory optimization through contacts

9.45 - 10.15 Daniele Pucci Real time MPC on a flying humanoid

10.15 - 10.35 Poster teaser

10.35 - 11.00 Coffee break and poster section

11.00 - 11.30 Denis Teissander Convex polyhedra and the world of screws, tolerancing analysis and kinematics

11.30 - 11.50 Vincent Delos Efficient comps of sums and intersections of high dimensional convex polytopes

11.50 - 12.10 Romeo Orsolino Feasible wrench polytopes

12.00 - 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 - 14.30 N. Mansard/C. Mastalli Contact robot control by differential dynamic programming

14.30 - 15.00 Andrea Del Prete Multi-contact balancing on elastic contacts

15.00 - 15.30 Gianluca Frison TBD

15.30 - 16.00 Coffee break / posters

16.00 - 16.30 Moritz Diehl Recent advances on numerical optimal control with state dependent switches

16.30 - 17.00 Ludovic Righetti TBD

17.00 - 17.30 Kris Hauser TBD

17.30 - 17.50 Justin Carpentier Analytical derivatives of contact dyns. eqs. and their app. to legged locomotion

17.50 - 18.30 Speakers panel / Best poster award

Call for posters

The workshop is soliciting posters/videos for an interactive session and a 2-min teaser talk for all participants. To participate, please submit a poster title and an 2 pages abstract (using IEEE two-column format) via email with the subject "[RSS 2019 Abstract]" to: ( by May 29, 2019 (AoE). All contributions will undergo a brief review by the organizers, and the authors will be notified of acceptance by June 9, 2019. Please note that we have a best poster award.

Accepted papers and eventual supplementary material will be made available on the workshop website. However, this does not constitute an archival publication and no formal workshop proceedings will be made available, meaning contributors are free to publish their work in archival journals or conference.



This workshop is supported by MEMMO project. MEMMO is a collaborative project supported by European Union within the H2020 Program, under Grant Agreement No. 780684. The organizers would like to thank also the Dr. Semini for his valuable feedback.