Self-righting software for tracked and wheeled robots

Improved software and systems that could be applied to any generic robot to get it back on its 'feet'

Software & Information Technology

(DoD photo)

Two-legged robots are walking, running, jumping and performing human tasks. And like us, robots fall down and often need humans to help.

But self-righting isn’t just a problem for bipedal robots. It’s also an issue for robots that are track or wheel driven. Such robots are used by the military for explosive ordnance disposal and sending a person out to right the robot, in the presence of unexploded ordnance is less than ideal. Wheeled robots are also used for vacuuming floors and while the danger involved in righting one that has fallen down the stairs is less, it still presents a problem.

Army researchers are addressing this issue with a software solution that adds control of articulating joints to the robot offering upwards of eight degrees of freedom to figure out how to right itself. The software evaluates the initial state and works out a series of movements resulting in it getting back on its treads. The sequence of actions is arrived at after assessment of the costs of all other possible actions and articulation routes resulting in a righted position.

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