Motion Planning for Agile Legged Locomotion using Failure Margin Constraints

by   Kevin Green, et al.

The complex dynamics of agile robotic legged locomotion requires motion planning to intelligently adjust footstep locations. Often, bipedal footstep and motion planning use mathematically simple models such as the linear inverted pendulum, instead of dynamically-rich models that do not have closed-form solutions. We propose a real-time optimization method to plan for dynamical models that do not have closed form solutions and experience irrecoverable failure. Our method uses a data-driven approximation of the step-to-step dynamics and of a failure margin function. This failure margin function is an oriented distance function in state-action space where it describes the signed distance to success or failure. The motion planning problem is formed as a nonlinear program with constraints that enforce the approximated forward dynamics and the validity of state-action pairs. For illustration, this method is applied to create a planner for an actuated spring-loaded inverted pendulum model. In an ablation study, the failure margin constraints decreased the number of invalid solutions by between 24 and 47 percentage points across different objectives and horizon lengths. While we demonstrate the method on a canonical model of locomotion, we also discuss how this can be applied to data-driven models and full-order robot models.


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