Mini-Cheetah Robot Demonstrates Dynamic Locomotion

Researchers from MIT are developing a new control scheme that allows for dynamic locomotion of a quadruped robot with minimal user intervention. They demonstrate the results on their Mini-Cheetah robot. The researchers explain that the challenge of dynamic legged locomotion is due to the lack of established control schemes that can handle aerial phases, short stance times, and high-speed leg swings. They propose a controller combining whole-body control (WBC) and model predictive control (MPC). In their framework, MPC finds an optimal reaction force profile over a longer-time horizon with a simple model, and WBC computes joint torque, position, and velocity commands based on the reaction forces computed from MPC. The Mini-Cheetah accomplishes high-speed running of up to 3.7 m/s by fully utilizing the hardware capability. In the outdoor tests, Mini-Cheetah demonstrates various gaits with speeds over 1 m/s and push-recovery on rough terrain.