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Article
Publication date: 3 May 2011

Giuseppe Quaglia, Luca Bruzzone, Giorgio Bozzini, Riccardo Oderio and Roberto P. Razzoli

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a robot for surveillance able to move in structured and unstructured environments and able to overcome…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the development of a robot for surveillance able to move in structured and unstructured environments and able to overcome obstacles with high energetic efficiency.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed Epi.q‐TG hybrid robot combines wheeled and legged locomotion. It is equipped with four three‐wheeled locomotion units; traction is generated by the two forecarriage units, while the two rear ones have same geometry but are idle. Each front unit is actuated by a single motor with the interposition of an epicyclical gearing, accurately designed in order to suitably switch between wheeled and legged motion. The robot changes locomotion mode from rolling on wheels (advancing mode) to stepping on legs (automatic climbing mode) according to local friction and dynamic conditions.

Findings

The experimental results confirm the design objectives. In advancing mode, the robot behaves like a four‐wheeled vehicle, with high speed and energetic efficiency. In automatic climbing mode, the robot can walk on uneven and soft terrains and overcome steps with remarkable height with respect to its dimensions (up to 84 per cent of the locomotion unit height).

Practical implications

Besides surveillance, Epi.q‐TG can be successfully used in many tasks in which it is useful to combine the advantages of wheeled and legged locomotion, e.g. unmanned inspection of nuclear and chemical sites, minesweeping, and intervention in disaster zones.

Originality/value

The core of the project is the epicyclical mechanism of the locomotion unit, which switches between advancing mode and automatic climbing mode without control action. This solution limits the control and actuation complexity and consequently the robot cost, widening the range of possible applications.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 38 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 January 2014

Luca Bruzzone and Pietro Fanghella

The aim of the research is the development of a small-scale ground mobile robot for surveillance and inspection; the main design goals are mobility in indoor environments…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of the research is the development of a small-scale ground mobile robot for surveillance and inspection; the main design goals are mobility in indoor environments with step climbing ability, pivoting around a vertical axis and without oscillations for stable vision, mobility in unstructured environments, low mechanical and control complexity.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed hybrid leg-wheel robot is characterized by a main body equipped with two actuated wheels and two praying Mantis rotating legs; a rear frame with two idle wheels is connected to the main body by a vertical revolute joint for steering; a second revolute joint allows the rear axle to roll. The geometrical synthesis of the robot has been performed using a nondimensional approach for generality's sake.

Findings

The experimental campaign on the first prototype confirms the fulfilment of the design objectives; the robot can efficiently walk in unstructured environments realizing a mixed wheeled-legged locomotion.

Practical implications

Thanks to the operative flexibility of Mantis in indoor and outdoor environments, the range of potential applications is wide: surveillance, inspection, monitoring of dangerous locations, intervention in case of terroristic attacks, military tasks.

Originality/value

Different from other robots of similar size, Mantis combines high speed and energetic efficiency, stable vision, capability of climbing over high steps, obstacles and unevenness.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 41 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2009

Markus Eich, Felix Grimminger and Frank Kirchner

The purpose of this paper is to describe an innovative compliance control architecture for hybrid multi‐legged robots. The approach was verified on the hybrid legged

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe an innovative compliance control architecture for hybrid multi‐legged robots. The approach was verified on the hybrid legged‐wheeled robot ASGUARD, which was inspired by quadruped animals. The adaptive compliance controller allows the system to cope with a variety of stairs, very rough terrain, and is also able to move with high velocity on flat ground without changing the control parameters.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper shows how this adaptivity results in a versatile controller for hybrid legged‐wheeled robots. For the locomotion control we use an adaptive model of motion pattern generators. The control approach takes into account the proprioceptive information of the torques, which are applied on the legs. The controller itself is embedded on a FPGA‐based, custom designed motor control board. An additional proprioceptive inclination feedback is used to make the same controller more robust in terms of stair‐climbing capabilities.

Findings

The robot is well suited for disaster mitigation as well as for urban search and rescue missions, where it is often necessary to place sensors or cameras into dangerous or inaccessible areas to get a better situation awareness for the rescue personnel, before they enter a possibly dangerous area. A rugged, waterproof and dust‐proof corpus and the ability to swim are additional features of the robot.

Originality/value

Contrary to existing approaches, a pre‐defined walking pattern for stair‐climbing was not used, but an adaptive approach based only on internal sensor information. In contrast to many other walking pattern based robots, the direct proprioceptive feedback was used in order to modify the internal control loop, thus adapting the compliance of each leg on‐line.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2011

Antonio Gonzalez Rodriguez, Angel Gonzalez Rodriguez and Pierluigi Rea

The paper aims to present a new mechanical scheme for a leg to be included in legged vehicles that simplifies the control actuations along the stride.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to present a new mechanical scheme for a leg to be included in legged vehicles that simplifies the control actuations along the stride.

Design/methodology/approach

The scheme includes three four‐bar links grouped in two mechanisms. The first one decouples the vertical and horizontal foot movements. The second one produces a constant horizontal foot velocity when the corresponding motor is given a constant speed. A hybrid robot with wheels at the end of the hind legs has been simulated and constructed to validate the leg performance.

Findings

The gait control requires only five commands for the electronic cards to control the leg. Decoupling vertical and horizontal movements allows a more adequate selection of actuators, a reduction of energy consumption, and higher load capacity and robot velocity. Additional mechanical benefits, such as improved robustness and lower inertia, are obtained. The hind legs can also be articulated, allowing the robot to overcome an obstacle and to climb up and down stairs.

Research limitations/implications

A hybrid robot offers greater stability with respect to a legged robot. This way the lateral movement is not a concern, and therefore it has not been tested yet during the walking cycle.

Originality/value

This new scheme obtains a quasi‐Cartesian behaviour for the foot movement that drastically simplifies the control of the walking cycle. Although the decoupling between movements has already been obtained in previous configurations, these follow a pantograph structure and suffer from blocking problems when they are subject to lateral forces. These schemes were suitable for crab‐like gaits. The proposed leg moves according to a mammal‐like gait.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 38 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2016

Steve W. Heim, Mostafa Ajallooeian, Peter Eckert, Massimo Vespignani and Auke Jan Ijspeert

The purpose of this paper is to explore the possible roles of active tails for steady-state legged locomotion, focusing on a design principle which simplifies control by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the possible roles of active tails for steady-state legged locomotion, focusing on a design principle which simplifies control by decoupling different control objectives.

Design/methodology/approach

A series of simple models are proposed which capture the dynamics of an idealized running system with an active tail. These models suggest that the overall control problem can be simplified and effectively decoupled via a proper tail design. This design principle is further explored in simulation using trajectory optimization. The results are then validated in hardware using a one degree-of-freedom active tail mounted on the quadruped robot Cheetah-Cub.

Findings

The results of this paper show that an active tail can greatly improve both forward velocity and reduce body-pitch per stride while adding minimal complexity. Further, the results validate the design principle of using long, light tails compared to shorter heavier ones.

Originality/value

This paper builds on previous results, with a new focus on steady-state locomotion and in particular deals directly with stance phase dynamics. A novel design principle for tails is proposed and validated.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2018

Zhong Wei, Guangming Song, Huiyu Sun, Qien Qi, Yuan Gao and Guifang Qiao

This paper aims to study the turning strategies for the bounding quadruped robot with an active spine and explore the significant role of the spine in the turning locomotion.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to study the turning strategies for the bounding quadruped robot with an active spine and explore the significant role of the spine in the turning locomotion.

Design/methodology/approach

Firstly, the bounding gait combining the pitch motion of the spine with the leg motion is presented. In this gait, the spine moves in phase with the front legs. All the joints of the legs and spine are controlled by cosine signals to simplify the control, and the initial position and oscillation amplitude of the joints can be tuned. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed gait, the spine joints are set with different initial positions and oscillation amplitudes, and the initial position and oscillation amplitude of the leg joints are tuned to make the virtual model do the best locomotion in terms of the speed and stability in the simulation. The control signals are also used to control a real robot called Transleg. Then, three different turning strategies are proposed, including driving the left and right legs with different strides, swaying the spine in the yaw direction and combining the above two methods. Finally, these strategies are tested on the real robot.

Findings

The stable bounding locomotion can be achieved using the proposed gait. With the spine motion, the speed of the bounding locomotion is increased; the turning radius is reduced; and the angular velocity is increased.

Originality/value

A simple and flexible planning of the bounding gait and three turning strategies for the bounding quadruped robot are proposed. The effectiveness of the proposed bounding gait, along with the beneficial effect of the spine motion in the yaw direction on the turning locomotion is demonstrated with the computer simulations and robot experiments. This will be instructive for the designing and actuating of the other quadruped robots.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 45 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 December 2019

Fei Guo, Shoukun Wang, Junzheng Wang and Huan Yu

In this research, the authors established a hierarchical motion planner for quadruped locomotion, which enables a parallel wheel-quadruped robot, the “BIT-NAZA” robot, to…

Abstract

Purpose

In this research, the authors established a hierarchical motion planner for quadruped locomotion, which enables a parallel wheel-quadruped robot, the “BIT-NAZA” robot, to traverse rough three-dimensional (3-D) terrain.

Design/methodology/approach

Presented is a novel wheel-quadruped mobile robot with parallel driving mechanisms and based on the Stewart six degrees of freedom (6-DOF) platform. The task for traversing rough terrain is decomposed into two prospects: one is the configuration selection in terms of a local foothold cost map, in which the kinematic feasibility of parallel mechanism and terrain features are satisfied in heuristic search planning, and the other one is a whole-body controller to complete smooth and continuous motion transitions.

Findings

A fan-shaped foot search region focuses on footholds with a strong possibility of becoming foot placement, simplifying computation complexity. A receding horizon avoids kinematic deadlock during the search process and improves robot adaptation.

Research limitations/implications

Both simulation and experimental results validated the proposed scenario available and appropriate for quadruped locomotion to traverse challenging 3-D terrains.

Originality/value

This paper analyzes kinematic workspace for a parallel robot with 6-DOF Stewart mechanism on both body and foot. A fan-shaped foot search region enhances computation efficiency. Receding horizon broadens the preview search to decrease the possibility of deadlock minima resulting from terrain variation.

Details

Industrial Robot: the international journal of robotics research and application, vol. 47 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2017

Michał R. Nowicki, Dominik Belter, Aleksander Kostusiak, Petr Cížek, Jan Faigl and Piotr Skrzypczyński

This paper aims to evaluate four different simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) systems in the context of localization of multi-legged walking robots equipped with…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to evaluate four different simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) systems in the context of localization of multi-legged walking robots equipped with compact RGB-D sensors. This paper identifies problems related to in-motion data acquisition in a legged robot and evaluates the particular building blocks and concepts applied in contemporary SLAM systems against these problems. The SLAM systems are evaluated on two independent experimental set-ups, applying a well-established methodology and performance metrics.

Design/methodology/approach

Four feature-based SLAM architectures are evaluated with respect to their suitability for localization of multi-legged walking robots. The evaluation methodology is based on the computation of the absolute trajectory error (ATE) and relative pose error (RPE), which are performance metrics well-established in the robotics community. Four sequences of RGB-D frames acquired in two independent experiments using two different six-legged walking robots are used in the evaluation process.

Findings

The experiments revealed that the predominant problem characteristics of the legged robots as platforms for SLAM are the abrupt and unpredictable sensor motions, as well as oscillations and vibrations, which corrupt the images captured in-motion. The tested adaptive gait allowed the evaluated SLAM systems to reconstruct proper trajectories. The bundle adjustment-based SLAM systems produced best results, thanks to the use of a map, which enables to establish a large number of constraints for the estimated trajectory.

Research limitations/implications

The evaluation was performed using indoor mockups of terrain. Experiments in more natural and challenging environments are envisioned as part of future research.

Practical implications

The lack of accurate self-localization methods is considered as one of the most important limitations of walking robots. Thus, the evaluation of the state-of-the-art SLAM methods on legged platforms may be useful for all researchers working on walking robots’ autonomy and their use in various applications, such as search, security, agriculture and mining.

Originality/value

The main contribution lies in the integration of the state-of-the-art SLAM methods on walking robots and their thorough experimental evaluation using a well-established methodology. Moreover, a SLAM system designed especially for RGB-D sensors and real-world applications is presented in details.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 44 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Anna Kochan

The 2002 climbing and walking robots (CLAWAR) conference featured 130 papers on topics related to CLAWAR. This article reviews the conference, highlighting papers in the…

Abstract

The 2002 climbing and walking robots (CLAWAR) conference featured 130 papers on topics related to CLAWAR. This article reviews the conference, highlighting papers in the areas of modular design, inspection of tanks, weld inspection, sewer inspection/cleaning, window cleaning, medical robotics, hybrid locomotion and hopping robots.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 20 June 2016

Rui Wang and Youhei Kawamura

The purpose of this paper is to present a design of climbing robot with magnetic wheels which can move on the surface of steel bridge. The locomotion concept is based on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a design of climbing robot with magnetic wheels which can move on the surface of steel bridge. The locomotion concept is based on adapted lightweight magnetic wheel units with relatively high attractive force and friction force.

Design/methodology/approach

The robot has the main advantages of being compact (352 × – 215 × – 155 mm), lightweight (2.3 kg without battery) and simple mechanical structure. It is not only able to climb vertical walls and follow circumferential paths, but also able to pass complex obstacles such as bolts, steps, convex and concave corners with almost any inclination regarding gravity. By using a servo as a compliant joint, the wheel base can be changed to enable the robot to overcome convex corners.

Findings

The experiment results show that the climbing robot has a good performance on locomotion, and it is successful in negotiating the complex obstacles. On the other hand, the limitations in locomotion of the robot are also presented.

Originality/value

Compared with the past researches, the robot shows good performance on overcoming complex obstacles such as concave corners, convex corners, bolts and steps on the steel bridge. Magnetic wheel with the characterization of compact size and lightweight is able to provide bigger adhesion force and friction coefficient.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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