Rough-Terrain Locomotion and Unilateral Contact Force Regulations With a Multi-Modal Legged Robot

Kaier Liang, Eric Sihite, Pravin Dangol, Andrew Lessieur, Alireza Ramezani

Despite many accomplishments by legged robot designers, state-of-the-art bipedal robots are prone to falling over, cannot negotiate extremely rough terrains and cannot directly regulate unilateral contact forces. Our objective is to integrate merits of legged and aerial robots in a single platform. We will show that the thrusters in a bipedal legged robot called Harpy can be leveraged to stabilize the robot's frontal dynamics and permit jumping over large obstacles which is an unusual capability not reported before. In addition, we will capitalize on the thrusters action in Harpy and will show that one can avoid using costly optimization-based schemes by directly regulating contact forces using an Reference Governor (RGs). We will resolve gait parameters and re-plan them during gait cycles by only assuming well-tuned supervisory controllers. Then, we will focus on RG-based fine-tuning of the joints desired trajectories to satisfy unilateral contact force constraints.

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