Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are working on a human-scale rescue robot, named the CHIMP Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform, that can take on both humanoid and tank forms, like a Transformer.
Images © Carnegie Mellon University
The team from Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center is building the new class of robot to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Robotics Challenge.
“Humans provide high-level control, while the robot provides low-level reflexes and self-protective behaviors,” said Tony Stentz, NREC director and Tartan Rescue Team leader. “This enables CHIMP to be highly capable without the complexity associated with a fully autonomous robot.”
“This type of robot has tremendous potential,” he added. Such a robot would be suitable for a variety of tasks for which NREC now develops wheeled, tracked and other conventional robots, such as remote inspection and monitoring of hazardous industrial facilities. A unit of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, NREC performs advanced applied research and prototyping for commercial and governmental clients.
The human-centered nature of the DRC challenges would seem to favor a dynamically stable humanoid robot, the choice of five of the seven Track A teams, Stentz acknowledged. But his team’s focus on simplicity and dependability led them to choose tracked locomotion.
“When we walk or stand, our brains are actively controlling our balance all of the time,” Stentz noted. This dynamic balance makes people nimble and enables them to run. But it also greatly increases the complexity, computational requirements and energy consumption of a machine. So CHIMP is designed with static stability; it won’t fall down even if it experiences a computer glitch or power failure.
source Carnegie Mellon University