The cheetah robot developed by a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was trained to jump over different obstacles and hurdles while running.
This achievement makes the cheetah robot the very first four-legged robotic creation that can run and jump over hurdles on its own.
The team of scientists who designed the robot has caught the attention of the science world last year when they demonstrated that their cheetah robot can run without being tethered.
The robot was able to do the performance without the need cameras or any other vision technology.
According to the team of engineers who created it, the cheetah robot sees using LIDAR technology, which is an onboard visual system which helps the robot “see” by using reflections sent from a laser that maps the terrain.
The scientists developed a special algorithm that has three parts and helps plan out the cheetah robot’s path.
The algorithm, which is based on the LIDAR data, allows the robot to move completely autonomously because both the system that plans the path and the vision technology are onboard the robot.
In order to jump over obstacles, the robot first plans out the path, similar to how a human runner would do.
As the robot detects the approaching obstacles, it quickly estimates the height and distance of the object.
The cheetah robot determines the best position from which to make its jump and then adjusts its stride so that it lands without touching the obstacle. Then, its next move is to exert enough force to push up and over the obstacle.
The robot examines the height of the obstacle and then applies a certain amount of force so that it lands safely; the last move is to come back to its initial pace.
The scientists engaged the robot first in indoor experiments where it had to run on a treadmill. The robot managed to jump over the obstacles up to 18 inches tall, which is more than half of the robot’s height.
While jumping over the obstacles, the cheetah ran at an average speed of 8km per hour.
The engineers tested the robot’s jumping skills first on a tread and then on a track.
When it ran on the treadmill, the robot was tethered in place and the scientists put obstacles of different heights on the running belt.
After several running sessions, the cheetah robot managed to clear about 70% of the obstacles.
Image Source: ibtimes