RoLoMa: Robust Loco-Manipulation for Quadruped Robots with Arms

Recommended citation: Henrique Ferrolho, Vladimir Ivan, Wolfgang Merkt, Ioannis Havoutis, and Sethu Vijayakumar. RoLoMa: Robust Loco-Manipulation for Quadruped Robots with Arms. Under Review, 2022.

Deployment of robotic systems in the real world requires a certain level of robustness in order to deal with uncertainty factors, such as mismatches in the dynamics model, noise in sensor readings, and communication delays. Some approaches tackle these issues reactively at the control stage. However, regardless of the controller, online motion execution can only be as robust as the system capabilities allow at any given state. This is why it is important to have good motion plans to begin with, where robustness is considered proactively. To this end, we propose a metric (derived from first principles) for representing robustness against external disturbances. We then use this metric within our trajectory optimization framework for solving complex loco-manipulation tasks. Through our experiments, we show that trajectories generated using our approach can resist a greater range of forces originating from any possible direction. By using our method, we can compute trajectories that solve tasks as effectively as before, with the added benefit of being able to counteract stronger disturbances in worst-case scenarios.

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