Walking Posture Adaptation for Legged Robot Navigation in Confined Spaces

Russell Buchanan, Tirthankar Bandyopadhyay, Marko Bjelonic, Lorenz Wellhausen, Marco Hutter, Navinda Kottege*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Legged robots have the ability to adapt their walking posture to navigate confined spaces due to their high degrees of freedom. However, this has not been exploited in most common multilegged platforms. This letter presents a deformable bounding box abstraction of the robot model, with accompanying mapping and planning strategies, that enable a legged robot to autonomously change its body shape to navigate confined spaces. The mapping is achieved using robot-centric multi-elevation maps generated with distance sensors carried by the robot. The path planning is based on the trajectory optimization algorithm CHOMP that creates smooth trajectories while avoiding obstacles. The proposed method has been tested in simulation and implemented on the hexapod robot Weaver, which is 33 cm tall and 82 cm wide when walking normally. We demonstrate navigating under 25 cm overhanging obstacles, through 70 cm wide gaps and over 22 cm high obstacles in both artificial testing spaces and realistic environments, including a subterranean mining tunnel.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8642939
Pages (from-to)2148-2155
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Early online date15 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • legged robots
  • motion control


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