Physics engine for jumping simulation and multi-legged robots

asked 2014-04-14 11:39:26 -0600

Carbon Based Lifeform gravatar image

updated 2014-04-14 11:40:22 -0600

My objective is to simulate the jumping behaviour of a radially symmetrical hexapod robot. I used Gazebo before and I have a ready .sdf model, and that justifies my initial choice for this simulator. But I'm afraid that ODE is not the most suitable engine for legged robotics simulations (user comments, scientific papers...). Moreover, my real robot is equipped with series elastic actuation, meaning that the legs are not directly driven by electrical motors but those are coupled with the joints through a torsional spring element, to store elastic energy to be exploited in the jump. It is crucial for me to reproduce this in the transmission specification.

Even if I manage to, (a custom spring transmission was developed 2 years ago on request, working in Gazebo 1.0.2, within the pr2 mechanism package - I guess it's possible to port it, but using now the ros_control package) I'm afraid this would not be enough to have a quasi-realistic jumping behaviour.

I'm aware of the existence of the Bullet engine, that offers a better performance in terms of friction cone and constraint handling, sliding legs and compound collision shapes, but I really don't want to lose time modelling in a framework that will not grant me a quite accurate dynamics simulation.

I would like to have some feedback from users that have used / are using Gazebo for multi-legged robotic systems.

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