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A Feasibility Metric for Trajectory Optimization of Legged Robots using Wrench Polytopes

by   Romeo Orsolino, et al.

Motion planning in multi-contact scenarios has recently gathered interest within the legged robotics community, however actuator force/torque limits are rarely considered. We believe that these limits gain paramount importance when the complexity of the terrains to be traversed increases. For this reason we propose two new six-dimensional bounded polytopes named the Actuation Wrench Polytope (AWP) and the Feasible Wrench Polytope (FWP). We define the AWP as the set of all the wrenches that a robot can generate on its own Center of Mass (CoM) while considering its actuation limits. This considers the admissible contact forces that the robot can generate given its current configuration and actuation capabilities but does not include features of the environment such as the contact normal or the friction coefficient. These are considered by the Contact Wrench Cone (CWC); the AWP can therefore be seen as complementary with respect to the CWC. The intersection of the AWP and of the CWC results in a polytope, the FWP, which turns out to be more descriptive of the real robot capabilities, while maintaining the same compact representation. We explain how to efficiently compute the vertex-description of the FWP and we also introduce a new locomotion stability metric based on the FWP, that we call feasibility margin, which allows us to optimize for robustness to external disturbance wrenches. Based on this, we present an implementation of a motion planner for our quadruped robot HyQ that provides online CoM trajectories that are guaranteed to be stable and actuation-consistent.


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