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International Journal Of Robotics Research


We present a novel approach to legged locomotion over rough terrain that is thoroughly rooted in optimization. This approach relies on a hierarchy of fast, anytime algorithms to plan a set of footholds, along with the dynamic body motions required to execute them. Components within the planning framework coordinate to exchange plans, cost-to-go estimates, and 'certificates' that ensure the output of an abstract high-level planner can be realized by lower layers of the hierarchy. The burden of careful engineering of cost functions to achieve desired performance is substantially mitigated by a simple inverse optimal control technique. Robustness is achieved by real-time re-planning of the full trajectory, augmented by reflexes and feedback control. We demonstrate the successful application of our approach in guiding the LittleDog quadruped robot over a variety of types of rough terrain. Other novel aspects of our past research efforts include a variety of pioneering inverse optimal control techniques as well as a system for planning using arbitrary pre-recorded robot behavior.


This work is a preprint that is freely available courtesy of SAGE Publications.

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