Robot Limbo: Optimized Planning and Control for Dynamically Stable Robots Under Vertical Obstacles
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We present successful control strategies for dynamically stable robots that avoid low ceilings and other vertical obstacles in a manner similar to limbo dances. Given the parameters of the mission, including the goal and obstacle dimensions, our method uses a sequential composition of IO-linearized controllers and applies stochastic optimization to automatically compute the best controller gains and references, as well as the times for switching between the different controllers. We demonstrate this system through numerical simulations, validation in a physics-based simulation environment, as well as on a novel two-wheeled platform. The results show that the generated control strategies are successful in mission planning for this challenging problem domain and offer significant advantages over hand-tuned alternatives.