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Volume 24 Issue 4 - Publication Date: 1 April 2005
 
Modeling and Experiments of Untethered Quadrupedal Running with a Bounding Gait: The Scout II Robot
 
I. Poulakakis, J.A. Smith Ambulatory Robotics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Centre for Intelligent Machines, McGill University, 3480 University Street, Montreal, QC H3A 2A7, Canada and M. Buehler Boston Dynamics, 515 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
 
In this paper we compare models and experiments involving Scout II, an untethered four-legged running robot with only one actuator per compliant leg. Scout II achieves dynamically stable running of up to 1.3 m s-1 on flat ground via a bounding gait. Energetics analysis reveals a highly efficient system with a specific resistance of only 1.4. The running controller requires no task-level or body-state feedback, and relies on the passive dynamics of the mechanical system. These results contribute to the increasing evidence that apparently complex dynamically dexterous tasks may be controlled via simple control laws. We discuss general modeling issues for dynamically stable legged robots. Two simulation models are compared with experimental data to test the validity of common simplifying assumptions. The need for including motor saturation and non-rigid torque transmission characteristics in simulation models is demonstrated. Similar issues are likely to be important in other dynamically stable legged robots as well. An extensive suite of experimental results documents the robot’s performance and the validity of the proposed models.
 
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