The robot uses a drone companion for navigation assistance and to avoid rough terrain.
Robotics designers from all over the world are working hard to construct robots differently and to improve their efficiency. Four-legged robots are a remarkable achievement in this regard. These robots can handle rough terrain and can produce various dynamic motions including fast walking, trotting, bounding and galloping.
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Though, four-legged robots are designed to operate in complex and diverse environments, they cannot cope with uncertain situations because they can’t see too far in front of them.
Robotic designers from ETH Zurich's Autonomous Systems Lab have found a solution for the problem and paired them with flying drones. These drones will assist walking robots and help them navigate unfavorable circumstances.
Autonomous Systems Lab has just released a video, showing how a bot and a drone can work together and form a symbiotic, robotic relationship.
The system relies upon a hexacopter to scout around the area before four-legged robot makes a move. Video showed a hexacopter drone flying all over the test room and mapping out its various dimensions. Drone noted slope steepness, roughness, step height and traversability and used monocular camera to create a graphical representation of the elevated data. When a complete picture emerged, drone beamed it back to the robot.
By using these calculations, the robot selected a path where it can walk efficiently and achieve the task. Hexacopter used laser range censor system to assist the robot all the way along and helped in avoiding new obstacles which came after the mapping was done. The robot made the necessary adjustments and slowly but surely completed the task.
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The study "collaborative navigation for flying and walking robots" is just an early stage example of coloration between drone and robot. It will ultimately help scientists to approach the remote celestial bodies and collect more information about them quickly and without involving too much risk.