Legged Robots into the Real World, Volume II

A special issue of Robotics (ISSN 2218-6581).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 5221

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
Interests: humanoid robotics; legged locomotion; motion planning; robot kinematics and dynamics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Legged robots have the potential to augment human capabilities across diverse operational environments, notably in complex, unstructured terrains. Humanoid robots, exemplified by the likes of Boston Dynamics' Atlas, Agility Robotics' Digit, and Tesla's Optimus, alongside quadrupeds such as Boston Dynamics' Spot, ANYbotics' ANYmal, and Unitree's A1 and B1, are revealing significant potential across various sectors, primarily for sensing and inspection tasks. Nonetheless, while there have been notable advancements in recent years, the broad deployment of legged robots in real-world applications remains in its nascent stages, with numerous challenges yet to be surmounted.

This Special Issue seeks contributions that highlight cutting-edge advancements in the deployment of legged robots. We are particularly interested in novel mechanisms, innovative sensor and actuator designs, dynamic and robust motion generation techniques, optimal control strategies, and leveraging machine learning to harness the full potential of legged robots in practical settings.

Topics of interest encompass, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Novel design and development of legged robots;
  • Advancements in legged manipulation;
  • Dynamic legged locomotion;
  • Whole-body motion generation and optimization;
  • Reinforcement learning in legged robotics;
  • Innovations in teleoperation of legged robots;
  • Jumping and running robots;
  • Advanced sensing, perception, and state estimation for legged robots;
  • Innovations in localization, mapping, and navigation for legged systems;
  • Collaborative techniques and applications for legged robots;
  • Pre-trained and transfer learning models for legged robotics;
  • Case studies and real-world applications utilizing legged robots.

We hope that authors will seize this opportunity to share their groundbreaking research and insights, contributing to the forward momentum in the field of legged robotics.

Dr. Chengxu Zhou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • legged robots
  • legged locomotion
  • humanoids and animaloids
  • whole-body motion planning and control
  • machine learning for robot control
  • mobile manipulation
  • SLAM
  • telerobotics and teleoperation
  • physical human–robot interaction

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 5361 KiB  
Article
Bimanual Telemanipulation Framework Utilising Multiple Optically Localised Cooperative Mobile Manipulators
by Christopher Peers and Chengxu Zhou
Robotics 2024, 13(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13040059 - 1 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1097
Abstract
Bimanual manipulation is valuable for its potential to provide robots in the field with increased capabilities when interacting with environments, as well as broadening the number of possible manipulation actions available. However, for a robot to perform bimanual manipulation, the system must have [...] Read more.
Bimanual manipulation is valuable for its potential to provide robots in the field with increased capabilities when interacting with environments, as well as broadening the number of possible manipulation actions available. However, for a robot to perform bimanual manipulation, the system must have a capable control framework to localise and generate trajectories and commands for each sub-system to allow for successful cooperative manipulation as well as sufficient control over each individual sub-system. The proposed method suggests using multiple mobile manipulator platforms coupled through the use of an optical tracking localisation method to act as a single bimanual manipulation system. The framework’s performance relies on the accuracy of the localisation. As commands are primarily high-level, it is possible to use any number and combination of mobile manipulators and fixed manipulators within this framework. We demonstrate the functionality of this system through tests in a Pybullet simulation environment using two different omnidirectional mobile manipulators, as well a real-life experiment using two quadrupedal manipulators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legged Robots into the Real World, Volume II)
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17 pages, 18355 KiB  
Article
Development of a Pneumatically Actuated Quadruped Robot Using Soft–Rigid Hybrid Rotary Joints
by Zhujin Jiang, Yan Wang and Ketao Zhang
Robotics 2024, 13(2), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13020024 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1728
Abstract
Inspired by musculoskeletal systems in nature, this paper presents a pneumatically actuated quadruped robot which utilizes two soft–rigid hybrid rotary joints in each of the four two-degrees of freedom (DoF) planar legs. We first introduce the mechanical design of the rotary joint and [...] Read more.
Inspired by musculoskeletal systems in nature, this paper presents a pneumatically actuated quadruped robot which utilizes two soft–rigid hybrid rotary joints in each of the four two-degrees of freedom (DoF) planar legs. We first introduce the mechanical design of the rotary joint and the integrated quadruped robot with minimized onboard electronic components. Based on the unique design of the rotary joint, a joint-level PID-based controller was adopted to control the angular displacement of the hip and knee joints of the quadruped robot. Typical gait patterns for legged locomotion, including the walking and trotting gaits, were investigated and designed. Proof-of-concept prototypes of the rotary joint and the quadruped robot were built and tested. The experimental results demonstrated that the rotary joint generated a maximum torque of 5.83 Nm and the quadruped robot was capable of locomotion, achieving a trotting gait of 187.5 mm/s with a frequency of 1.25 Hz and a walking gait of 12.8 mm/s with a gait cycle of 7.84 s. This study reveals that, compared to soft-legged robots, the quadruped robot has a simplified analytical model for motion control, size scalability and high movement speeds, thereby exhibiting significant potential for applications in extreme environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legged Robots into the Real World, Volume II)
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Review

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24 pages, 3039 KiB  
Review
Stability and Safety Learning Methods for Legged Robots
by Paolo Arena, Alessia Li Noce and Luca Patanè
Robotics 2024, 13(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/robotics13010017 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1697
Abstract
Learning-based control systems have shown impressive empirical performance on challenging problems in all aspects of robot control and, in particular, in walking robots such as bipeds and quadrupeds. Unfortunately, these methods have a major critical drawback: a reduced lack of guarantees for safety [...] Read more.
Learning-based control systems have shown impressive empirical performance on challenging problems in all aspects of robot control and, in particular, in walking robots such as bipeds and quadrupeds. Unfortunately, these methods have a major critical drawback: a reduced lack of guarantees for safety and stability. In recent years, new techniques have emerged to obtain these guarantees thanks to data-driven methods that allow learning certificates together with control strategies. These techniques allow the user to verify the safety of a trained controller while providing supervision during training so that safety and stability requirements can directly influence the training process. This survey presents a comprehensive and up-to-date study of the evolving field of stability certification of neural controllers taking into account such certificates as Lyapunov functions and barrier functions. Although specific attention is paid to legged robots, several promising strategies for learning certificates, not yet applied to walking machines, are also reviewed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Legged Robots into the Real World, Volume II)
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