The inspection path planning of sheet metal assemblies plays an important role in the measurement efficiency of large free-form surfaces. In the path generation of a 5-axis coordinate measurement machine (CMM), large calculation of collision detection and obstacle avoidance are needed in the traditional computer-aided inspection planning methods. Owing to structure complexity of large free-form surfaces, the planning procedures for collision detection and automatic collision-free trajectory generation is time-consuming and low-efficiency. To address this problem, a safety-space-based modeling approach is proposed to generate a feasible collision-free path for a large number of key measurement points. At first, based on the decomposition of the dynamic motion trajectory of the probe and discretizing of the inspected object, a continuous envelope space, i.e., safety space is constructed for candidate path generation of the probe. In the proposed planning strategy, the work of collision detection and avoidance are eliminated. Then, a heuristic optimization algorithm is used to generate the feasible trajectory in the constructed safety space for all the measurement points. At last, an inspection path planning case of a car door assembly was used to illustrate the procedure of the proposed method.

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