The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) is developing the ground robotic capabilities to execute complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments. The Track B Phase 1a portion of the program is focused on developing the autonomy and operator interface for the Atlas humanoid robot to perform these tasks in simulation. JPL, in collaboration with UC Santa Barbara and Caltech, is integrating several key technologies to address this challenge. These include: multi-sensor fusion to estimate the robot state and its surrounding environment simultaneously; a computational robot dynamics framework that provides a convenient, abstract means of describing and manipulating complex multi-DOF articulated systems; a multi-strategy body-pose, manipulation, grasping, and whole-body mechanics-based planners; robust multi-sensor closed-loop control of parameterized behaviors; an intuitive graphical operator interface with preview simulation to ensure the robot achieves the operator command goals; and reliable dynamic walking on rough terrain, which is robust to inherent errors in robot/terrain model.
Max Bajracharya - Jet Propulsion Laboratory