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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A movement planning heuristic package for quadruped ambulation over rough terrain Buckland, Kenneth M.


Legged walking machines offer a number of advantages over conventional wheeled or tracked vehicles. They can reach terrain that is inaccessible to conventional vehicles, and they leave fewer traces of their crossing behind on terrain that has not been prepared for transportation. This thesis details the development of a heuristic package that can be used to determine the movement plan of a longitudinally oriented quadruped walking vehicle ambulating over rough terrain. An investigation of walking machine research to date revealed that such work had not been done for quadrupeds that adjust their attitude to follow the terrain. This terrain following strategy was employed in the development of these heuristics because it provides superior movement capabilities on sloped terrain. The heuristics were tested extensively on a variety of simulated terrain conditions. These conditions consisted of different combinations of underlying terrain attitudes and terrain roughness levels. The heuristics performed well during the simulations, and the simulated machine responded as the theoretical analysis had indicated. During the course of this work, a number of new ideas related to quadruped ambulation were developed. These included how to generate the overall movement plan of a quadruped walking machine, how foothold locations can be guided to best facilitate smooth machine turning, how the speed of a walking machine can be maintained at consistent levels, and how to prevent any possibility of leg collisions. In addition, in-depth analyses were made on how stride length affects quadruped machine speed, what conditions force such machines to halt their forward movement, and how a practical machine should be designed.

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