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Motion planning and control of legged robots for autonomous navigation in unstructured terrain

Grant number: 21/05336-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2021
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mechanical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Becker
Grantee:Vivian Suzano Medeiros
Host Institution: Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


A field of research that has received a lot of funding in the last few years is the development of mobile robots, autonomous or remotely operated, to perform tasks in unstructured terrain or in places either inaccessible or too dangerous for humans. These robotic platforms have the potential to make inspection and monitoring tasks in farms and industrial sites far more efficient, reducing operating costs and bringing great benefits to the global industry. As requirements for the deployment of mobile robots in such applications, they must be able to move safely over rough terrain and negotiate obstacles, while processing data from various sensors, including cameras and distance sensors. For these scenarios, the use of legged or hybrid wheeled-legged robots presents a versatile and robust solution, with high mobility in uneven terrain and a mechanical structure capable of carrying the set of sensors needed for monitoring their environment. In this context, this research project proposes the study and development of a trajectory planning and control framework that allows legged (-wheeled) robots to navigate safely in challenging scenarios, including agricultural plantations. The project consists of the integration of a perception framework with the robot's locomotion system, running in real-time, ensuring a completely autonomous operation. The deployment of legged robots for industrial inspection is already a reality in several countries. However, research with this type of robots in Brazil is still scarce, despite the great advantages it can bring to the Brazilian industry. This research proposes to fill this gap with the development of legged (-wheeled) robots for autonomous navigation in unstructured scenarios, focused on real applications in the national industry. (AU)

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