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Adaptive Locomotion of a Multilegged Robot over Rough Terrain

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2 Author(s)

Although the off-road mobility characteristics of wheeled or tracked vehicles are generally recognized as being inferior to those of man and cursorial animals, the complexity of the joint-coordination control problem has thus far frustrated attempts to achieve improved vehicular terrain adaptability through the application of legged locomotion concepts. Nevertheless, the evident superiority of biological systems in this regard has motivated a number of theoretical studies over the past decade which have now reached a state of maturity sufficient to permit the construction of experimental computer-controlled adaptive walking machines. At least two such vehicles are known to have recently demonstrated legged locomotion over smooth hard-surfaced terrain. This paper is concerned with an extension of the present theory of limb coordination for such machines to the case in which the terrain includes regions not suitable for weight-bearing and which must consequently be avoided by the control computer in deciding when and where to successively place the feet of the vehicle. The paper includes a complete problem formalization, a heuristic algorithm for solution of the problem thus posed, and a preliminary evaluation of the proposed algorithm in terms of a computer simulation study.

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IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 4 )