Torque Controlled Locomotion of a Biped Robot with Link Flexibility

When a big and heavy robot moves, it exerts large forces on the environment and on its own structure, its angular momentum can varysubstantially, and even the robot's structure can deform if there is a mechanical weakness. Under these conditions, standard locomotion controllers can fail easily. In this article, we propose a complete control scheme to work with heavy robots in torque control. The full centroidal dynamics is used to generate walking gaits online, link deflections are taken into account to estimate the robot posture and all postural instructions are designed to avoid conflicting with each other, improving balance. These choices reduce model and control errors, allowing our centroidal stabilizer to compensate for the remaining residual errors. The stabilizer and motion generator are designed together to ensure feasibility under the assumption of bounded errors. We deploy this scheme to control the locomotion of the humanoid robot Talos, whose hip links flex when walking. It allows us to reach steps of 35~cm, for an average speed of 25~cm/sec, which is among the best performances so far for torque-controlled electric robots.

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