Boston Dynamics is developing a quadruped robot the size of a large dog that walks, runs, climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads.
Dubbed BigDog, it is powered by a petrol engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. Its legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next.
BigDog has an on-board computer that controls its locomotion through servos on its legs. The control system manages the dynamics of its behaviour to keep it balanced, as well as help it to be steered.
On board sensors measure the BigDogs joint position, joint force, ground contact, and ground load. They are complemented by a stereo vision system and a laser gyro that help with navigation. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring its hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine temperature, rpm, and battery charge.
In separate trials, BigDog has shown that it can run at 4mph, climb slopes up to 35 degrees, walk across rubble and carry a 340lb load.
BigDog is being developed by Boston Dynamics with the goal of creating robots that have rough-terrain mobility that can take them anywhere on Earth
The development program is funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).
See BigDog on YouTube here.