Intelligent Biomimetic Robotic Tails for Stabilizing and Agile Maneuvering of Legged Robots

Research by Pinhas Ben-Tzvi

The research studies how biomimetic robotic tails can dynamically stabilize and maneuver legged mobile robots moving at high speeds. Field robots are limited in how they may respond to unforeseen dynamic disturbances in unstructured hazardous environments and how they may change their direction without modifying gait and slowing down. With a robotic tail, the required forces and moments to stabilize and maneuver the robot can be applied by dynamic tail motions instead of using the legs, torso or arms. This research studies algorithms to map the required forces and moments into continuum tail control inputs to stabilize and maneuver a legged robot, and derive dynamic models to predict the tail’s dynamic forces and moments to enable task planning. The robotic tails are capable of augmenting a legged robot’s ability for agile and robust terrain traversal in unstructured hazardous environments.

The research impacts applications from search and rescue to reconnaissance to exploring hazardous and dangerous environments, in which robots must move effectively in unstructured terrains. Legged robots can better traverse these unstructured environments compared to wheeled or tracked systems due to the legs’ use of discrete ground contact points. This project’s primary impact stems from the tail’s improvements to a legged robot’s stability and maneuverability. This will lead to faster search and rescue or exploration of dangerous environments, allowing these legged robots to augment and exceed human capabilities.

Overview of biomimetic robotics tail research.