Publications / SAND Report

Advanced robot locomotion

Byrne, Raymond H.; Neely, Jason C.; Buerger, Stephen B.; Feddema, John T.; Novick, David K.; Rose, Scott E.; Spletzer, Barry L.; Sturgis, Beverly R.

This report contains the results of a research effort on advanced robot locomotion. The majority of this work focuses on walking robots. Walking robot applications include delivery of special payloads to unique locations that require human locomotion to exo-skeleton human assistance applications. A walking robot could step over obstacles and move through narrow openings that a wheeled or tracked vehicle could not overcome. It could pick up and manipulate objects in ways that a standard robot gripper could not. Most importantly, a walking robot would be able to rapidly perform these tasks through an intuitive user interface that mimics natural human motion. The largest obstacle arises in emulating stability and balance control naturally present in humans but needed for bipedal locomotion in a robot. A tracked robot is bulky and limited, but a wide wheel base assures passive stability. Human bipedal motion is so common that it is taken for granted, but bipedal motion requires active balance and stability control for which the analysis is non-trivial. This report contains an extensive literature study on the state-of-the-art of legged robotics, and it additionally provides the analysis, simulation, and hardware verification of two variants of a proto-type leg design.