Recently we welcomed a new robot to the ORI mobile robot menagerie: ANYmal. Built by ANYbotics AG, ANYmal is a 35kg torque-controlled quadruped specifically designed to be rugged and to be used in the field for industrial inspections as well as the basic science of motion planning, control and navigation.

Researchers and students from the Dynamic Robot Systems Group (DRS) learned about the full range of issues from sensor I/O, walking controllers to user interface. There were many details about safe operation of the hardware and maintenance of the robot’s 12 ANYdrive actuators.

Christian demonstrating safe operation of ANYmal on our gantry

Walking robotics have moved much closer to a commercial practicality recently. While huge attention was drawn to the DARPA Robotics Challenge showing humanoids carrying out various tasks, it has been quadrupeds which are proved more robust. Organisations as varied as Boston Dynamics, ANYbotics and a small Chinese company called Unitree are developing dynamic quadrupeds which can be used to do dirty and dangerous tasks.

For example, ANYmal will be a core demonstrator platform in four on going DRS projects spanning inspection of Oil and Gas, Sewers, Mines and Nuclear facilities funded by the EPSRC and EU Horizon H2020.

We finished up training with a little test to plan footsteps on a staircase which were then executed using ANYmal’s FreeGait control interface.