MIT robot jumps autonomously
MIT robot jumps autonomously

After the incredible robots created by Boston Dynamics, the MIT has posted the following video that shows the “cheetah” robot jumping autonomously:

The robot can detect an obstacle up to 18 inches tall and jump over it while maintaining an average running speed of 5 miles per hour.

Now, the robot can “see,” with the use of onboard LIDAR — a visual system that uses reflections from a laser to map terrain. The team developed a three-part algorithm to plan out the robot’s path, based on LIDAR data. Both the vision and path-planning system are onboard the robot, giving it complete autonomous control.

See, run, jump
Last September, the group demonstrated that the robotic cheetah was able to run untethered — a feat that Kim notes the robot performed “blind,” without the use of cameras or other vision systems.
Now, the robot can “see,” with the use of onboard LIDAR — a visual system that uses reflections from a laser to map terrain. The team developed a three-part algorithm to plan out the robot’s path, based on LIDAR data. Both the vision and path-planning system are onboard the robot, giving it complete autonomous control.
The algorithm’s first component enables the robot to detect an obstacle and estimate its size and distance. The researchers devised a formula to simplify a visual scene, representing the ground as a straight line, and any obstacles as deviations from that line. With this formula, the robot can estimate an obstacle’s height and distance from itself.
Once the robot has detected an obstacle, the second component of the algorithm kicks in, allowing the robot to adjust its approach while nearing the obstacle. Based on the obstacle’s distance, the algorithm predicts the best position from which to jump in order to safely clear it, then backtracks from there to space out the robot’s remaining strides, speeding up or slowing down in order to reach the optimal jumping-off point.
This “approach adjustment algorithm” runs on the fly, optimizing the robot’s stride with every step. The optimization process takes about 100 milliseconds to complete — about half the time of a single stride.
When the robot reaches the jumping-off point, the third component of the algorithm takes over to determine its jumping trajectory. Based on an obstacle’s height, and the robot’s speed, the researchers came up with a formula to determine the amount of force the robot’s electric motors should exert to safely launch the robot over the obstacle. The formula essentially cranks up the force applied in the robot’s normal bounding gait, which Kim notes is essentially “sequential executions of small jumps.”

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MIT robot jumps autonomously

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