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Stepping over obstacles with humanoid robots

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4 Author(s)
Guan, Y. ; Joint Japanese French Robotics Lab., Ibaraki ; Neo, E.S. ; Yokoi, K. ; Tanie, K.

The wide potential applications of humanoid robots require that the robots can walk in complex environments and overcome various obstacles. To this end, we address the problem of humanoid robots stepping over obstacles in this paper. We focus on two aspects, which are feasibility analysis and motion planning. The former determines whether a robot can step over a given obstacle, and the latter discusses how to step over, if feasible, by planning appropriate motions for the robot. We systematically examine both of these aspects. In the feasibility analysis, using an optimization technique, we cast the problem into global optimization models with nonlinear constraints, including collision-free and balance constraints. The solutions to the optimization models yield answers to the possibility of stepping over obstacles under some assumptions. The presented approach for feasibility provides not only a priori knowledge and a database to implement stepping over obstacles, but also a tool to evaluate and compare the mobility of humanoid robots. In motion planning, we present an algorithm to generate suitable trajectories of the feet and the waist of the robot using heuristic methodology, based on the results of the feasibility analysis. We decompose the body motion of the robot into two parts, corresponding to the lower body and upper body of the robot, to meet the collision-free and balance constraints. This novel planning method is adaptive to obstacle sizes, and is, hence, oriented to autonomous stepping over by humanoid robots guided by vision or other range finders. Its effectiveness is verified by simulations and experiments on our humanoid platform HRP-2

Published in:

Robotics, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 5 )