Online Planning for Autonomous Running Jumps Over Obstacles in High-Speed Quadrupeds

TitleOnline Planning for Autonomous Running Jumps Over Obstacles in High-Speed Quadrupeds
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPark, H-W., P. M. Wensing, and S. Kim
Conference NameRobotics: Science and Systems

This paper presents a new framework for the generation of high-speed running jumps to clear terrain obstacles in quadrupedal robots. Our methods enable the quadruped to autonomously jump over obstacles up to 40 cm in height within a single control framework. Specifically, we propose new control system components, layered on top of a low-level running controller, which actively modify the approach and select stance force profiles as required to clear a sensed obstacle. The approach controller enables the quadruped to end in a preferable state relative to the obstacle just before the jump. This multi-step gait planning is formulated as a multiple-horizon model predictive control problem and solved at each step through quadratic pro- gramming. Ground reaction force profiles to execute the running jump are selected through constrained nonlinear optimization on a simplified model of the robot that possesses polynomial dynamics. Exploiting the simplified structure of these dynamics, the presented method greatly accelerates the computation of otherwise costly function and constraint evaluations that are required during optimization. With these considerations, the new algorithms allow for online planning that is critical for reliable response to unexpected situations. Experimental results, for a stand-alone quadruped with on-board power and computation, show the viability of this approach, and represent important steps towards broader dynamic maneuverability in experimental machines.