Multimodality robotic systems: Integrated combined legged-aerial mobility for subterranean S&R
This work presents a field-hardened autonomous multimodal legged-aerial robotic system for subterranean exploration, extending a legged robot to be the carrier of an aerial platform capable of a rapid deployment in search-and-rescue scenarios. The driving force for developing such robotic configurations are the requirements for large-scale and long-term missions, where the payload capacity and long battery life of the legged robot is combined and integrated with the agile motion of the aerial agent. The multimodal robot is structured around the quadruped Boston Dynamics Spot, enhanced with a custom configured autonomy sensor payload as well as a UAV carrier platform, while the aerial agent is a custom built quadcopter. This work presents the novel design and hardware implementation as well as the onboard sensor suites. Moreover it establishes the overall autonomy architecture in a unified supervision approach while respecting each locomotion modality, including guidance, navigation, perception, state estimation, and control capabilities with a focus on rapid deployment and efficient exploration. The robotic system complete architecture is evaluated in real subterranean tunnel areas, in multiple fully autonomous search-and-rescue missions with the goal of identifying and locating objects of interest within the subterranean environment.
Björn Lindqvist, Samuel Karlsson, Anton Koval, Ilias Tevetzidis, Jakub Haluška, Christoforos Kanellakis, Ali-akbar Agha-mohammadi and George Nikolakopoulos
Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2022