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  1. Can we design motion primitives for complex legged systems uniformly for different terrain types without neglecting modeling details? This paper presents a method for rapidly generating quadrupedal locomotion on sloped terrains-from modeling to gait generation, to hardware demonstration. At the core of this approach is the observation that a quadrupedal robot can be exactly decomposed into coupled bipedal robots. Formally, this is represented through the framework of coupled control systems, wherein isolated subsystems interact through coupling constraints. We demonstrate this concept in the context of quadrupeds and use it to reduce the gait planning problem for uneven terrains to bipedal walking generation via hybrid zero dynamics. This reduction method allows for the formulation of a nonlinear optimization problem that leverages low-dimensional bipedal representations to generate dynamic walking gaits on slopes for the full-order quadrupedal robot dynamics. The result is the ability to rapidly generate quadrupedal walking gaits on a variety of slopes. We demonstrate these walking behaviors on the Vision 60 quadrupedal robot; in simulation, via walking on a range of sloped terrains of 13°, 15°, 20°, 25°, and, experimentally, through the successful locomotion of 13° and 20° ~ 25° sloped outdoor grasslands.
  2. This paper aims to develop distributed feedback control algorithms that allow cooperative locomotion of quadrupedal robots which are coupled to each other by holonomic constraints. These constraints can arise from collaborative manipulation of objects during locomotion. In addressing this problem, the complex hybrid dynamical models that describe collaborative legged locomotion are studied. The complex periodic orbits (i.e., gaits) of these sophisticated and high-dimensional hybrid systems are investigated. We consider a set of virtual constraints that stabilizes locomotion of a single agent. The paper then generates modified and local virtual constraints for each agent that allow stable collaborative locomotion. Optimal distributed feedback controllers, based on nonlinear control and quadratic programming, are developed to impose the local virtual constraints. To demonstrate the power of the analytical foundation, an extensive numerical simulation for cooperative locomotion of two quadrupedal robots with robotic manipulators is presented. The numerical complex hybrid model has 64 continuous-time domains, 192 discrete-time transitions, 96 state variables, and 36 control inputs.
  3. This paper systematically decomposes a quadrupedal robot into bipeds to rapidly generate walking gaits and then recomposes these gaits to obtain quadrupedal locomotion. We begin by decomposing the full-order, nonlinear and hybrid dynamics of a three-dimensional quadrupedal robot, including its continuous and discrete dynamics, into two bipedal systems that are subject to external forces. Using the hybrid zero dynamics (HZD) framework, gaits for these bipedal robots can be rapidly generated (on the order of seconds) along with corresponding controllers. The decomposition is achieved in such a way that the bipedal walking gaits and controllers can be composed to yield dynamic walking gaits for the original quadrupedal robot - the result is the rapid generation of dynamic quadruped gaits utilizing the full-order dynamics. This methodology is demonstrated through the rapid generation (3.96 seconds on average) of four stepping-in-place gaits and one diagonally symmetric ambling gait at 0.35 m/s on a quadrupedal robot - the Vision 60, with 36 state variables and 12 control inputs - both in simulation and through outdoor experiments. This suggested a new approach for fast quadrupedal trajectory planning using full-body dynamics, without the need for empirical model simplification, wherein methods from dynamic bipedal walking can be directlymore »applied to quadrupeds.« less