Towards a Generic Navigation and Locomotion Control System for Legged Space Exploration

Alexander Dettmann, Steffen Planthaber, Vinzenz Bargsten, Raul Dominguez, Gianluca Cerilli, Marco Marchitto, Geoff Fink, Michele Focchi, Victor Barasuol, Claudio Semini, Robert Marc

In: Proceedings of the Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation. ESA/Estec Symposium on Advanced Space Technologies in Robotics and Automation (ASTRA-2022) June 1-2 Nordwijk Netherlands ESA 2022.


The exploration of lunar craters is of high interest, but their rugged and inclined terrain also exceeds the mobility capabilities of current rovers, opening up a field of application for legged exploration systems. This paper presents a navigation and locomotion control system that enables legged robots to be able to perceive the terrain, to plan a path to a desired goal, and to control the path execution while traversing unconsolidated, inclined, and rugged terrain. The navigation system is closely coupled with the robotic motion control to be able to exploit the full potential of the flexible locomotion system. In addition, the followed approach introduces a suitable level of abstraction to achieve a modular and generic software that can support different types of walking robots. This will allow, depending on specific requirements of future space missions, to use energy-efficient four-legged as well as more stable six-legged robots. The paper describes the guidance, navigation, and control approach and shows first experimental results.


ant_astra22.pdf (pdf, 7 MB )

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence