Abstract

A safety-critical measure of legged locomotion performance is a robot's ability to track its desired time-varying position trajectory in an environment, which is herein termed as "global-position tracking". This paper introduces a nonlinear control approach that achieves asymptotic global-position tracking for three-dimensional (3D) bipedal robots. Designing a global-position tracking controller presents a challenging problem due to the complex hybrid robot model and the time-varying desired global-position trajectory. Towards tackling this problem, the first main contribution is the construction of impact invariance to ensure all desired trajectories respect the foot-landing impact dynamics, which is a necessary condition for realizing asymptotic tracking of hybrid walking systems. Thanks to their independence of the desired global position, these conditions can be exploited to decouple the higher-level planning of the global position and the lower-level planning of the remaining trajectories, thereby greatly alleviating the computational burden of motion planning. The second main contribution is the Lyapunov-based stability analysis of the hybrid closed-loop system, which produces sufficient conditions to guide the controller design for achieving asymptotic global-position tracking during fully actuated walking. Simulations and experiments on a 3D bipedal robot with 20 revolute joints confirm the validity of the proposed control approach in guaranteeing accurate tracking.

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