LEGGED ROBOTICS

Classical wheel or track based ground vehicles are relatively simple and robust, but limited in difficult terrain. To overcome obstacles like steps, gaps, mud, shallow water or other ill-defined terrain, or simply to avoid damage to the soil, the development of unmanned aerial vehicles was accelerated in the past years and created new markets for drones. However, inherent drawbacks of flying vehicles are their limitations in payload capability and energy autonomy, and their inability to work under bad weather conditions.

Nature shows impressively how it masters all these issues with legged locomotion. While one day legged robotic systems may adopt many of nature’s capabilities, the development of legged robots is still in its very early stage today. Two-legged humanoid robot prototypes struggle with dynamic stability, even just walking stably and reliably represents an extremely challenging problem. The few four-legged robotic research prototypes have demonstrated far better motion performance than humanoids. They are mostly hydraulically actuated with an on-board combustion engine which makes them quite large and powerful, but energetically inefficient and very hard to scale for smaller dimensions. On the other hand, electric actuation powered by on-board batteries is more versatile, energy efficient, scalable and less costly.

Mobile robots are typically controlled to reach defined positions. For walking robots interacting with uneven and partly unknown terrain, sensor based position control is not sufficient. Real walking requires additional advanced contact sensing and force control capabilities.

A next step in robot evolution will see mobile robots move and act autonomously in unstructured environments outside factories. For this to become reality, robots need to demonstrate

  • advanced mobility skills overcoming obstacles, stairs and rough natural terrain
  • advanced interaction skills with sophisticated force control capabilities
  • advanced autonomy skills for missions such as inspection, transportation or intervention

ANYbotics developed unique differentiating features addressing all of these mobile robotics challenges. We provide the market with a four-legged autonomous robot platform satisfying the most advanced mobility requirements. Our intelligent force controlled electrical actuator joints are the key components for a controlled interaction between robot and environment. Together with our sophisticated balancing control software, these actuators provide for optimal dynamic ground force stabilization for legged devices.

SERIES-ELASTIC ACTUATION

Series-elastic actuators are perfectly suited for interaction with the environment. The integrated mechanical compliance decouples the motor and gear from the output and hence makes the actuator perfectly impact robust. In our research we created advanced tools to design and control compliant actuators. We are able to use the spring to temporarily store energy, to significantly enhance the peak power, and most importantly to accurately regulate the output joint torque.

SOFTWARE

PUBLICATIONS