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Towards dynamic alternating tripod trotting of a pony-sized hexapod robot for disaster rescuing based on multi-modal impedance control

  • Qiao Sun (a1), Feng Gao (a1) and Xianbao Chen (a1)

Hexapod robots are well suited for disaster rescuing tasks due to their stability and load capability. However, most current hexapod robots still rely on static gaits that largely limit their locomotion speed. This paper introduces a hierarchical control strategy to realize a dynamic alternating tripod trotting gait for a hexapod robot based on multi-modal impedance control. At the low level, a position-based impedance controller is developed to realize an adjustable compliant behavior for each leg. At the high level, a new gait controller is developed to generate a stable alternating tripod trotting gait, in which a gait state machine, a leg compliance modulation strategy, and a close-looped body attitude stabilizer are imposed. As a result, the alternating tripod trotting of the hexapod robot can be synchronized as the running of a bipedal robot with stable body attitude. Moreover, this control strategy was verified by experiments on a newly designed pony-sized disaster rescuing robot, HexbotIV, which successfully achieved a dynamic trotting gait with ability to resist the disturbances of mildly uneven terrains. Our control strategy as well as the experimental study can be a valuable reference for other hexapod robots and thus paves a way to the practical deployment of disaster rescuing robots.

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