Optimization for Gait Generation

We use the template models as references and run trajectory optimizations with the full body model of A1 and Cassie robot to identify periodic motions with different footfall patterns.

It is often overlooked by roboticists when designing locomotion controllers for their legged machines, that energy consumption plays an important role in selecting the best gaits for locomotion at high speeds or over long distances. The purpose of this study is to examine four similar asymmetrical quadrupedal gaits that are frequently observed in legged animals in nature. To understand how a specific footfall pattern will change the energetics of a legged system, we first developed a full body model of a quadrupedal robot called A1. And for each gait we created a hybrid system with desired footfall sequence and rigid impacts. In order to find the most energy efficient gait, we used optimal control methods to formulate the problem as a trajectory optimization problem with proper constraints and objective function. This problem was implemented and solved in a nonlinear programming framework called FROST. Based on the optimized trajectories for each gait, we investigated the values of cost of transport and the work done by all joints. Moreover, we analyzed the exchange of angular momentum in different components of the system during the whole stride cycle. According to the simulation results, bounding with two flight phases is likely to be the most energy efficient gait for A1 across a wide range of speed.

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