Dynamic Robot Systems Group

Dynamic Robot Systems Group researches control, motion planning, mapping and navigation for dynamically moving robots. Our work has application to walking, flying and mobile robots. Here’s a playlist of our recent research:

 

Brief News ...

10/11/2020

A new PostDoc position in our group is available. Full details are at this page. Contact Dr. Maurice Fallon with informal queries.

03/09/2020

We’ve added a new webpage describing our research and involvement in the Cerberus team competing in the DARPA SubT Challenge which runs from 2018-2021. We are preparing multi-robot SLAM, exploration-based planning and testing our approach using our ANYmal C robot and a tracked robot made by our collaborator Ross Robotics.

21/08/2020

Our project to precisely map New College has been featured on the college’s own website.

03/07/2020

Three papers from the group will appear at IROS in October:

  • Alex Mitchell presents his first research paper on using latent space representations to learn quadrupedal locomotion. The paper's video shows intuitive cyclic behaviour in as the robot's gait moves through the representation. This work was in collaboration with ORI's A2I Group.
  • Russell Buchanan’s work on contact localisation is part of our research into using haptics for innovative locomotion with the ANYmal. The method works in about the same way as a person behaves when using touch to find his/her way at night in the dark. Read the paper. Watch the video.
  • Milad Ramezani led a major effort in our group to create a dataset with 3D LIDAR (Ouster 64-beam), IMU and stereo image sensing (Realsense) scanning New College here in Oxford. It’s really useful for SLAM research because it includes precise ground truth. Project Website including paper.
10/03/2020

Recent experiments in an nearby underground mine as preparation for the DARPA SubT Challenge.

03/03/2020

We carried out a trial on the High Speed 2 (London to Birmingham) construction site in London as part of the MEMMO EU Project.

30/01/2020

We’ve had 6 papers accepted for ICRA/RA-L in Paris in May 2020. Topics range from efficient learning of locomotion, active mapping, SLAM, path planning, state estimation and trajectory optimisation. All of the papers have real world experiments with our ANYmal robot. Pre-prints of the papers are on our publications page. Here is a video sampler of all the papers:

Additionally, two new members of DRS have papers from their previous research groups:

  • Romeo Orsolino with Claudio Semini and colleagues from DLS in IIT. paper link
  • David Rytz with Michael Mistry and colleagues from Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. paper link

Brief News 2019

31/10/2019

We have created a project page for VILENS, our legged robot state estimator. It has been heavily tested on kilometres of logs from our ANYmal robot. More details here

03/10/2019

We carried out a series of demos to the Oil and Gas industry as part of the ORCA Robotics Hub in Blyth, near Newcastle. Check out these two videos showing our demos: video 1 and video 2

20/07/2019

Congratulations to Dr. Mathieu Geisert. His paper won the best paper award at the TAROS 2019 Conference in London! More details here.

25/06/2019

Three papers about our quadruped research have recently been accepted at TAROS and IROS:

  • Work led by Mathieu Geisert with LAAS to adapt the HPP footstep planner to work with ANYmal. Appearing at TAROS in July. The method can plan several steps ahead on complex terrains very quickly as well as choosing selecting the step sequence. Read the paper. Watch the video.
  • A paper on tight Visual-Inertial Navigation (VINS) which also includes Leg Odometry by David Wisth and Marco Camurri. We call it VILENS. The work was heavily tested in real outdoor environments and appears at IROS in November. Read the paper. Watch the video.
  • Quadrupeds have a variety of gaits (such as walking and trotting), some of which assume the world to be flat and others plan over rough terrain using elevation maps. Martim’s work (also at IROS) automatically chooses between gaits when given an input map. Read the paper.
23/05/2019

We co-organized the workshop “Towards Real-World Deployment of Legged Robots” at ICRA. It was attended by over 200 people and included a demo of 5 rugged and highly mobile quadrupeds – including ANYmal. This demonstrates that quadruped robots are fast becoming a commercial reality with ANYbotics and Boston Dynamics holding industrial demos and trials.

01/03/2019

Two papers from DRS will appear at ICRA this year:

14/02/2019

We hosted the AIMS PhD Programme’s 1st year class for a week long introduction to walking robots. David gave a demo of ANYmal’s capabilities and the winners took home some apt trophies 🙂

 

 

 

 

Brief News 2018

30/10/2018

We had a successful field trial for the ORCA project. Over 50 researchers from Oxford, Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Liverpool Universities and Imperial College carried out trials. Our ANYmal was the focus of the day with a 45 minute demo of walking robot inspection. Read our overview article.

01/09/2018

Georgi Tinchev’s paper will appear at IROS next month “Seeing the Wood for the Trees: Reliable Localization in Urban and Natural Environments”. The paper involves localising in natural environments (forests) using LIDAR. The work adapts Segmatch from Renaud Dubé and Cesar Cadena.

Here’s a project page about the NSM algorithm.

01/04/2018

Phew! It’s been a busy couple of months in DRS. Both EU projects have kicked off. Each now has a website and twitter feed:

20/02/2018

As part of the THING and MEMMO projects we have 3 post-doc positions available across the research areas of dynamic locomotion:

  • Motion Planning and Control: planning dynamic motions in challenge environments. The MEMMO project is about pre-computing high dimensional trajectories to improve thereactivity of (model predicative) control.
  • Tactile Estimation and Active Control: The THING project is about improving everything tactile and haptic during quadruped walking & contact – materials, sensing, control, planning and estimation. 
  • Reconstruction and Mapping: building efficient reliable navigation systems to demonstrate quadrupeds doing inspection – fusing inertial sensing and vision. 

Feel free to contact Maurice or Ioannis for more information. We are making a major investment in walking robots in ORI including purchasing a copy of Anymal – an awesome quadruped robot from the RSL Lab in ETH. We will have lab space a new building in late 2018. Oxford is a wonderful place to live and work, come join us!

10/01/2018

DRS has had some great success with our ICRA submissions this year. The following 4 papers will be presented in Brisbane in May:

  • M. J. A. Zeestraten, I. Havoutis, and S. Calinon, ‘Programming by Demonstration for Shared Control with an Application in Teleoperation’. (also appearing in the RA-L Journal). pdf
  • S. Nobili, G. Tinchev, and M. Fallon, ‘Predicting Alignment Risk to Prevent Localization Failure’. pdf. video
  • C. Rauch, T. Hospedales, J. Shotton, and M. Fallon, ‘Visual Articulated Tracking in the Presence of Occlusions’. pdf. video
  • R. Scona, M. Jaimez, Y. R. Petillot, M. Fallon, and D. Cremers, ‘StaticFusion: Background Reconstruction for Dense RGB-D SLAM in Dynamic Environments’. pdf. video

These works involve collaborations with IIT and IDIAP, the Cremers lab in TUM, Jamie Shotton at Microsoft Hololens.

20/09/2017

We are excited to say that two EU Projects in the area of walking robots have been funded and will begin in 2018:

  • MEMMO will be led by Nicolas Mansard from LAAS (Toulouse). It will involve motion planning for dynamic legged robots. Partners include MPI (L. Rigetti), Edinburgh (S. Vijayakumar), IDIAP (S. Calinon) as well as PAL Robotics and Wandercraft.
  • THING will be led by Michael Mistry from University of Edinburgh. THING will develop technology and algorithms in all areas of physical contact – such as contact sensing, navigation with contact sensors and better footstep placement. Developments will be centred around the state-of-the-art quadruped ANYmal developed by the Robot Systems Lab in ETH Zurich.
08/09/2017

DRS have the following papers appearing in IROS 2017:

  • M Zeestraten, I Havoutis, S Calinon and D Caldwell, “Learning Task-Space Synergies Using Riemannian Geometry”.
  • R Scona, S Nobili, Y Petillot, M Fallon, “Direct Visual SLAM Fusing Proprioception for a Humanoid Robot”.

Pre-prints can be downloaded from the publications page.

Checkout this new work in collaboration with @a2i_oxford on applying latent space representations to quadruped locomotion https://t.co/G7vMEH5CsX

This video shows a collaboration with @RoboticsRoss. The EXTRM robot explores an underground mine entirely autonomously. In future this system could sniff out radiation or help after disasters. Funded by @RAIN_hub and @UKRI_News. #subtchallenge @CerberusSubt https://t.co/nI2HTXaFYi

We've added more sequences to the Multi-modal Newer College Dataset with aggressive motions and harsh lighting conditions. Ground truth poses also provided. Dataset has been downloaded 150 times since summer. Download: https://t.co/Puh4kMHGSp Video: https://t.co/noHGTQKbb8

We have an opening for a Postdoctoral Researcher to work on robot navigation, mapping and perception! Are you excited to get your ideas running on cutting edge robots underground and in the air? Application details: https://t.co/1ivOEHt6aB Deadline: 9 Dec 2020 https://t.co/slZb4NWWlq

Starting time is actually 9.30am: Introduction [9:25-9:30am] Prof. Michael Mistry, University of Edinburgh [9:30 – 9:50am] Dr. Christian Gehring, CTO of ANYbotics [9:50 – 10:10am] Dr. Simon Watson, University of Manchester [10:10 – 10:30am]

12 Nov at 9am (UK): Join us next week for a @UKRobotics legged robotics workshop hosted by @dkanou. https://t.co/vECvNrppqO Speakers @mikemistry, @simon_a_watson and Christian Gehring (CTO of @anybotics maker of #ANYmal). Featuring research from @RAIN_hub and @ORCA_Hub https://t.co/xcImPvN5F6

Watch @raabuchanan's presentation about localising quadrupeds with a sense of touch is now up on the #IROS2020 on-demand platform. Research funded by @THING_H2020 @ERC_Research 🇪🇺 https://t.co/aBRSyuk257

After a seven month interruption, we are back exploring underground mines with our new #ANYmal robot! Preparing for #SubtChallenge with Team @CerberusSubt. Thanks to @royalsociety, @UKRI_News and @ORCA_Hub for support. https://t.co/5v0NrLucTS

RT @MauriceFallon: It’s been a really tough year, I’m so proud that my team are in @oxfordrobots late on Friday night pushing to get great…