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Generating high-speed dynamic running gaits in a quadruped robot using an evolutionary search

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2 Author(s)
Krasny, D.P. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH, USA ; Orin, D.E.

Over the past several decades, there has been a considerable interest in investigating high-speed dynamic gaits for legged robots. While much research has been published, both in the biomechanics and engineering fields regarding the analysis of these gaits, no single study has adequately characterized the dynamics of high-speed running as can be achieved in a realistic, yet simple, robotic system. The goal of this paper is to find the most energy-efficient, natural, and unconstrained gallop that can be achieved using a simulated quadrupedal robot with articulated legs, asymmetric mass distribution, and compliant legs. For comparison purposes, we also implement the bound and canter. The model used here is planar, although we will show that it captures much of the predominant dynamic characteristics observed in animals. While it is not our goal to prove anything about biological locomotion, the dynamic similarities between the gaits we produce and those found in animals does indicate a similar underlying dynamic mechanism. Thus, we will show that achieving natural, efficient high-speed locomotion is possible even with a fairly simple robotic system. To generate the high-speed gaits, we use an efficient evolutionary algorithm called set-based stochastic optimization. This algorithm finds open-loop control parameters to generate periodic trajectories for the body. Several alternative methods are tested to generate periodic trajectories for the legs. The combined solutions found by the evolutionary search and the periodic-leg methods, over a range of speeds up to 10.0 m/s, reveal "biological" characteristics that are emergent properties of the underlying gaits.

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Aug. 2004

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