Release 23.10 – Safety Improvements, Video Recording, and More

We are happy to announce that Release 23.10 is now available for your ANYmal.

Here, you will find additional information about what we have introduced and changed. You’ll find several quality of life improvements within ANYbotics Workforce and from a few under the hood improvements. Most notably, Operators can look forward to:

  • Static Video Recording Environment Object
  • Earlier Trigger of P-stop, preempting potential tumbles of ANYmal
  • NFM Presets available for varying terrain in the Waypoints Editor

Note that this release additionally comes with a PDB update. Please refer to the Operator’s Manual for instructions on how to perform this update.

New Features

Static Video Recording Environment Object

We are excited to bring ANYmal Operators a new Inspection Object to further add to ANYmal’s autonomous inspection capabilities. Operators can now configure ANYmal to take a video recording of a point of interest, enabling ANYmal to gather more information about objects in motion, scenes in the plant, other potentially transient behavior and more.

To configure this Inspection Object, simply follow the normal steps for setting up an Environment Object. For Inspection Type, select Visual Inspection Static Video Recording in either the Field Operator App or the OPC GUI. Note that the maximum recording length is 60 seconds. Operators can select from the Zoom camera, both Wide Angle Cameras, Thermal, and thermal_raw. Please note that the thermal_raw recording is not saved into a directly usable encoding. Please contact us at Support for further information.

To configure this task into a mission, create a corresponding task type, under visual_inspection_video_recording_behavior_plugins. Then, continue configuration as usual.

For more detailed instructions, please refer to the Operator’s Manual.

Steering Page now has a Camera Feed option

To advance the remote operation use case, Operators now have the option to stream a camera to Field Operator while manually controlling ANYmal. From the Steering Page, simply open the right hand menu to select from the Zoom Camera or either Wide Angle Camera.

Important Changes

Improved P-stop trigger points

ANYmal now has an improved response when it detects an imminent tumble. The P-stop will trigger as soon as ANYmal’s body exceeds a 60 degree angle relative to gravity, causing the drives to immediately disengage. By engaging the protective stop earlier, ANYmal will no longer continue to attempt to correct itself after the situation is unrecoverable, allowing it to bring itself to a safer state. In practice, Operators will now see that ANYmal has a lower chance of tumbling onto the ground or down the stairs, preventing a common cause of significant damage to ANYmal. Rather, ANYmal will more likely fall on its belly plate.

Detection of thin, flat obstacles is improved

We have improved how ANYmal detects thin and/or flat obstacles. Operators should now see better performance when ANYmal approaches obstacles such as edges of tables or boxes in its path.

BLK Firmware Compatibility

BLK compatibility has been upgraded to match Leica Firmware Version 3.1.0. Note that upgrading to Leica’s current latest version, 3.2.0, will break compatibility with ANYmal and cannot be downgraded afterwards.

For customers with a BLK ARC, please contact ANYbotics Support to receive a copy of version 3.1.0. Please reach out if you need assistance performing the upgrade. Operators must upgrade to continue using the BLK ARC with ANYmal.

Workflow Changes

NFM Presets in Waypoint Editor

In user testing and customer feedback, we have found that our Perception systems perform better with a couple of parameter changes on grated flooring and open stairs. If your ANYmal has exhibited poor performance on these surfaces, Operators now have an additional option available to improve the situation. These settings can be easily changed when configuring an Environment in the Waypoint Editor. Simply change the field NFM Preset while editing an edge. Especially for stairs, please take extra care while performing initial tests with this setting enabled, such as attaching a rope.

You do not have to select presets for all the edges, as the autodeduced configuration will, by default, apply the right preset. In the event of poor performance on grated floors with the default settings, we recommend that Operators first try the grated_surfaces_l0 preset to see if performance improves before using grated_surfaces_l1 preset. Upping the level reduces ANYmal’s ability to detect cliffs and dynamic objects, so please proceed with caution.

Similar logic applies to the open stairs settings.

Warning: These settings are not as well tested as our baseline. Please use caution and care when testing these changes. Feel free to reach out to Support with logs if you’d like an opinion on whether changing these settings might make a difference in your situation.

For further information, please refer to the Operator’s Manual.

Tablet Moving Environment Objects

During Environment setup, we’ve received feedback from customers that creation of Environment Objects can be limiting when Operators can only adjust coordinates. In the Field Operator App, we’ve added a movable item to make quick movement of Environment Objects easier. Simply start editing an object, and then in the visualization window, a slider will appear. Click and drag each corresponding axis to move the object in that direction.

Bug Fixes

ANYmal SDK will now attempt to automatically reconnect

We identified and fixed an issue where if a client using ANYmal SDK lost its connection to ANYmal Server, it would remain unconnected and not try reconnecting. Now, it will attempt to reconnect using an exponential backoff timer, maxing out at every 2 minutes.

ANYmal freezing in transition from sleep to walk

We discovered a bug where ANYmal would be unable to transition to walk after staying in rest for 5-10 minutes. This has been addressed, so ANYmal should be able to reliably transition directly to walk now.

Global Replanning blocking erroneous edges

A bug in Global Replanning has been fixed where it would mark edges as blocked that should not be blocked, causing ANYmal to get stuck without valid edges on the waypoint graph to use.

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