Mobility-enhanced MPC for Legged Locomotion on Rough Terrain

05/12/2021
by   Niraj Rathod, et al.
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Re-planning in legged locomotion is crucial to track a given set-point while adapting to the terrain and rejecting external disturbances. In this work, we propose a real-time Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (NMPC) tailored to a legged robot for achieving dynamic locomotion on a wide variety of terrains. We introduce a mobility-based criterion to define an NMPC cost that enhances the locomotion of quadruped robots while maximizing leg mobility and staying far from kinematic limits. Our NMPC is based on the real-time iteration scheme that allows us to re-plan online at 25 Hz with a time horizon of 2 seconds. We use the single rigid body dynamic model defined in the center of mass frame that allows to increase the computational efficiency. In simulations, the NMPC is tested to traverse a set of pallets of different sizes, to walk into a V-shaped chimney, and to locomote over rough terrain. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our NMPC with the mobility feature that allowed IIT's 87.4 kg quadruped robot HyQ to achieve an omni-directional walk on flat terrain, to traverse a static pallet, and to adapt to a repositioned pallet during a walk in real experiments.

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