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Compliant quadruped locomotion over rough terrain


Conference Paper


Many critical elements for statically stable walking for legged robots have been known for a long time, including stability criteria based on support polygons, good foothold selection, recovery strategies to name a few. All these criteria have to be accounted for in the planning as well as the control phase. Most legged robots usually employ high gain position control, which means that it is crucially important that the planned reference trajectories are a good match for the actual terrain, and that tracking is accurate. Such an approach leads to conservative controllers, i.e. relatively low speed, ground speed matching, etc. Not surprisingly such controllers are not very robust - they are not suited for the real world use outside of the laboratory where the knowledge of the world is limited and error prone. Thus, to achieve robust robotic locomotion in the archetypical domain of legged systems, namely complex rough terrain, where the size of the obstacles are in the order of leg length, additional elements are required. A possible solution to improve the robustness of legged locomotion is to maximize the compliance of the controller. While compliance is trivially achieved by reduced feedback gains, for terrain requiring precise foot placement (e.g. climbing rocks, walking over pegs or cracks) compliance cannot be introduced at the cost of inferior tracking. Thus, model-based control and - in contrast to passive dynamic walkers - active balance control is required. To achieve these objectives, in this paper we add two crucial elements to legged locomotion, i.e., floating-base inverse dynamics control and predictive force control, and we show that these elements increase robustness in face of unknown and unanticipated perturbations (e.g. obstacles). Furthermore, we introduce a novel line-based COG trajectory planner, which yields a simpler algorithm than traditional polygon based methods and creates the appropriate input to our control system.We show results from bot- h simulation and real world of a robotic dog walking over non-perceived obstacles and rocky terrain. The results prove the effectivity of the inverse dynamics/force controller. The presented results show that we have all elements needed for robust all-terrain locomotion, which should also generalize to other legged systems, e.g., humanoid robots.

Author(s): Buchli, J. and Kalakrishnan, M. and Mistry, M. and Pastor, P. and Schaal, S.
Book Title: Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2009. IROS 2009. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on
Pages: 814-820
Year: 2009

Department(s): Autonomous Motion
Bibtex Type: Conference Paper (inproceedings)

Cross Ref: p10337
Note: clmc
URL: http://www-clmc.usc.edu/publications/B/buchli-IROS2009.pdf


  title = {Compliant quadruped locomotion over rough terrain},
  author = {Buchli, J. and Kalakrishnan, M. and Mistry, M. and Pastor, P. and Schaal, S.},
  booktitle = {Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2009. IROS 2009. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on},
  pages = {814-820},
  year = {2009},
  note = {clmc},
  crossref = {p10337},
  url = {http://www-clmc.usc.edu/publications/B/buchli-IROS2009.pdf}