Versatile Real-Time Motion Synthesis via Kino-Dynamic MPC With Hybrid-Systems DDP


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Specialized motions such as jumping are often achieved on quadruped robots by solving a trajectory optimization problem once and executing the trajectory using a tracking controller. This approach is in parallel with Model Predictive Control (MPC) strategies that commonly control regular gaits via online re-planning. In this work, we present a nonlinear MPC (NMPC) technique that unlocks on-the-fly replanning of specialized motion skills and regular locomotion within a unified framework. The NMPC reasons about a hybrid kinodynamic model, and is solved using a variant of a constrained Differential Dynamic Programming (DDP) solver. The proposed NMPC enables the robot to perform a variety of agile skills like jumping, bounding, and trotting, and the rapid transition between them. We evaluated the proposed algorithm with three challenging motion sequences that combine multiple agile skills, on two quadruped platforms, Unitree A1, and MIT Mini Cheetah, showing its effectiveness and generality.
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