Preprint: An Optimization Approach to Rough Terrain Locomotion

March 31, 2010


We present a novel approach to legged locomotion over rough terrain that is thoroughly rooted in optimization. This approach relies on a hierarchy of fast, anytime algorithms
to plan a set of footholds, along with the dynamic body motions required to execute them. Components within the planning framework coordinate to exchange plans, cost-to-go estimates, and “certi?cates” that ensure the output of an abstract high- level planner can be realized by deeper layers of the hierarchy. The burden of careful engineering of cost functions to achieve desired performance is substantially mitigated by a simple inverse optimal control technique. Robustness is achieved by real-time re-planning of the full trajectory, augmented by re?exes and feedback control. We demonstrate the successful application of our approach in guiding the LittleDog quadruped robot over a variety of rough terrains.

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