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Create an optimal RRT path planner (RRT*)

Since R2019b


The plannerRRTStar object creates an asymptotically-optimal RRT planner, RRT*. The RRT* algorithm converges to an optimal solution in terms of the state space distance. Also, its runtime is a constant factor of the runtime of the RRT algorithm. RRT* is used to solve geometric planning problems. A geometric planning problem requires that any two random states drawn from the state space can be connected.



planner = plannerRRTStar(stateSpace,stateVal) creates an RRT* planner from a state space object, stateSpace, and a state validator object, stateVal. The state space of stateVal must be the same as stateSpace. stateSpace and stateVal also sets the StateSpace and StateValidator properties of the planner object.


planner = plannerRRTStar(___,Name=Value) sets properties using one or more name-value arguments in addition to the input arguments in the previous syntax. You can specify the StateSampler, BallRadiusConstant, ContinueAfterGoalReached, MaxNumTreeNodes, MaxIterations, MaxConnectionDistance, GoalReachedFcn, and GoalBias properties as name-value arguments.


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State space for the planner, specified as a state space object. You can use state space objects such as stateSpaceSE2, stateSpaceDubins, stateSpaceReedsShepp, and stateSpaceSE3. You can also customize a state space object using the nav.StateSpace object.

State validator for the planner, specified as a state validator object. You can use state validator objects such as validatorOccupancyMap, validatorVehicleCostmap, and validatorOccupancyMap3D.

Since R2023b

State space sampler used for finding state samples in the input space, specified as a stateSamplerUniform object, stateSamplerGaussian object, stateSamplerMPNET object, or nav.StateSampler object. By default, the plannerRRTStar uses uniform state sampling.

Constant used to estimate the near neighbors search radius, specified as a positive scalar. The radius is estimated as following:



  • γ — The value of the BallRadiusConstant property

  • n — Current number of nodes in the tree

  • d — Dimension of the state space

  • η — The value of the MaxConnectionDistance property

γ is defined as following:



  • VFree — Approximate free volume in search-space

  • VBall — Volume of unit ball in d dimensions

The formulae above define a BallRadiusConstant of "appropriate" size for a given space, meaning that as the number of nodes filling the space grows and the radius shrinks, the expected number of neighbors grows logarithmically. Higher values will result in a higher average number of neighbors within the d-ball per iteration, leading to more rewire candidates. However, values below this suggested minimum could lead to a single nearby neighbor, which fails to produce asymptotically optimal results.

Example: BallRadiusConstant=80

Data Types: single | double

Decide if the planner continues to optimize after the goal is reached, specified as false or true. The planner also terminates regardless of the value of this property if the maximum number of iterations or maximum number of tree nodes is reached.

Example: ContinueAfterGoalReached=true

Data Types: logical

Maximum number of nodes in the search tree (excluding the root node), specified as a positive integer.

Example: MaxNumTreeNodes=2500

Data Types: single | double

Maximum number of iterations, specified as a positive integer.

Example: MaxIterations=2500

Data Types: single | double

Maximum length of a motion allowed in the tree, specified as a scalar.

Example: MaxConnectionDistance=0.3

Data Types: single | double

Callback function to determine whether the goal is reached, specified as a function handle. You can create your own goal reached function. The function must follow this syntax:

 function isReached = myGoalReachedFcn(planner,currentState,goalState)


  • planner — The created planner object, specified as plannerRRTStar object.

  • currentState — The current state, specified as a three element real vector.

  • goalState — The goal state, specified as a three element real vector.

  • isReached — A boolean variable to indicate whether the current state has reached the goal state, returned as true or false.

To use custom GoalReachedFcn in code generation workflow, this property must be set to a custom function handle before calling the plan function and it cannot be changed after initialization.

Data Types: function handle

Probability of choosing the goal state during state sampling, specified as a real scalar in range [0,1]. The property defines the probability of choosing the actual goal state during the process of randomly selecting states from the state space. You can start by setting the probability to a small value such as 0.05.

Example: GoalBias=0.1

Data Types: single | double

Object Functions

planPlan path between two states
copyCreate copy of planner object


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Create a state space.

ss = stateSpaceSE2;

Create an occupancyMap-based state validator using the created state space.

sv = validatorOccupancyMap(ss);

Create an occupancy map from an example map and set map resolution as 10 cells/meter.

load exampleMaps.mat
map = occupancyMap(simpleMap,10);
sv.Map = map;

Set validation distance for the validator.

sv.ValidationDistance = 0.01;

Update state space bounds to be the same as map limits.

ss.StateBounds = [map.XWorldLimits; map.YWorldLimits; [-pi pi]];

Create RRT* path planner and allow further optimization after goal is reached. Reduce the maximum iterations and increase the maximum connection distance.

planner = plannerRRTStar(ss,sv, ...
          ContinueAfterGoalReached=true, ...
          MaxIterations=2500, ...

Set the start and goal states.

start = [0.5 0.5 0];
goal = [2.5 0.2 0];

Plan a path with default settings.

rng(100,'twister') % repeatable result
[pthObj,solnInfo] = plan(planner,start,goal);

Visualize the results.
hold on
% Tree expansion
% Draw path

Load a 3-D occupancy map of a city block into the workspace. Specify the threshold to consider cells as obstacle-free.

mapData = load("dMapCityBlock.mat");
omap = mapData.omap;
omap.FreeThreshold = 0.5;

Inflate the occupancy map to add a buffer zone for safe operation around the obstacles.


Create an SE(3) state space object with bounds for state variables.

ss = stateSpaceSE3([0 220;0 220;0 100;inf inf;inf inf;inf inf;inf inf]);

Create a 3-D occupancy map state validator using the created state space. Assign the occupancy map to the state validator object. Specify the sampling distance interval.

sv = validatorOccupancyMap3D(ss, ...
     Map = omap, ...
     ValidationDistance = 0.1);

Create a RRT star path planner with increased maximum connection distance and reduced maximum number of iterations. Specify a custom goal function that determines that a path reaches the goal if the Euclidean distance to the target is below a threshold of 1 meter.

planner = plannerRRTStar(ss,sv, ...
          MaxConnectionDistance = 50, ...
          MaxIterations = 1000, ...
          GoalReachedFcn = @(~,s,g)(norm(s(1:3)-g(1:3))<1), ...
          GoalBias = 0.1);

Specify start and goal poses.

start = [40 180 25 0.7 0.2 0 0.1];
goal = [150 33 35 0.3 0 0.1 0.6];

Configure the random number generator for repeatable result.


Plan the path.

[pthObj,solnInfo] = plan(planner,start,goal);

Visualize the planned path.

axis equal
view([-10 55])
hold on
% Start state
% Goal state
% Path
plot3(pthObj.States(:,1),pthObj.States(:,2),pthObj.States(:,3), ...

More About

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[1] Karaman, S. and E. Frazzoli. "Sampling-Based Algorithms for Optimal Motion Planning." The International Journal of Robotics Research. Vol. 30, Number 7, 2011, pp 846 – 894.

Extended Capabilities

Version History

Introduced in R2019b

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