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Autonomous stair-climbing with miniature jumping robots

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2 Author(s)
Stoeter, S.A. ; Inst. of Robotics & Intelligent Syst., Swiss Fed. Inst. of Technol., Zurich, Switzerland ; Papanikolopoulos, N.

The problem of vision-guided control of miniature mobile robots is investigated. Untethered mobile robots with small physical dimensions of around 10 cm or less do not permit powerful onboard computers because of size and power constraints. These challenges have, in the past, reduced the functionality of such devices to that of a complex remote control vehicle with fancy sensors. With the help of a computationally more powerful entity such as a larger companion robot, the control loop can be closed. Using the miniature robot's video transmission or that of an observer to localize it in the world, control commands can be computed and relayed to the inept robot. The result is a system that exhibits autonomous capabilities. The framework presented here solves the problem of climbing stairs with the miniature Scout robot. The robot's unique locomotion mode, the jump, is employed to hop one step at a time. Methods for externally tracking the Scout are developed. A large number of real-world experiments are conducted and the results discussed.

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:35 ,  Issue: 2 )