In contrast to the now mature technology of torque-controlled drives, the robot developed in NatDyReL will be based on highly compliant actuators. This technology has the strong potential to enable physical robustness against external impacts and allows for periodic energy storage and release during highly dynamic motions. The robot will be able to adapt its dynamic behaviour at runtime to the current ground conditions and to the desired walking speed. In addition, part of the kinetic energy can be temporarily stored in the elastic drives at each step, thus enabling robust and energy-efficient execution of dynamic walking movements. In order to successfully implement these concepts in practice, it is necessary to take the actuator dynamics fully into account in the planning of the overall body movement as well as in the real-time control. Considerable effort thus will be spent on the fusion of whole-body locomotion algorithms with novel concepts for the control of elastic actuators. The project requires close interdisciplinary cooperation between experts from different disciplines, especially from robotics, control engineering and mechatronics.
Key Research Questions
With the research performed in the four work-packages we aim to answer the following fundamental scientific questions:
WP1: Fundamentals for robot control with variable impedance actuators
WP2: Efficient Legged Locomotion
WP3: Multi-Contact Control
WP4: Prototype development