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A bipedal walking robot that can fly, slackline, and skateboard

Kyunam Kim, Patrick Spieler, Elena-Sorina Lupu, Alireza Ramezani, Soon-Jo Chung

Numerous mobile robots in various forms specialize in either ground or aerial locomotion, whereas very few robots can perform complex locomotion tasks beyond simple walking and flying. We present the design and control of a multimodal locomotion robotic platform called LEONARDO, which bridges the gap between two different locomotion regimes of flying and walking using synchronized control of distributed electric thrusters and a pair of multijoint legs. By combining two distinct locomotion mechanisms, LEONARDO achieves complex maneuvers that require delicate balancing, such as walking on a slackline and skateboarding, which are challenging for existing bipedal robots. LEONARDO also demonstrates agile walking motions, interlaced with flying maneuvers to overcome obstacles using synchronized control of propellers and leg joints. The mechanical design and synchronized control strategy achieve a unique multimodal locomotion capability that could potentially enable robotic missions and operations that would be difficult for single-modal locomotion robots.

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