ANYmal can do parkour and walk across rubble

March 14, 2024

ANYmal has for some time had no problem coping with the stony terrain of Swiss hiking trails. ANYmal is also proficient at dealing with the tricky terrain commonly found on building sites or in disaster areas. To teach ANYmal these new skills, two teams, both from the group led by ETH Professor Marco Hutter of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, followed different approaches. Exhausting the mechanical optionsWorking in one of the teams is ETH doctoral student Nikita Rudin, who does parkour in his free time. ANYmal can now scale obstacles and perform dynamic manoeuvres to jump back down from them.

ANYmal has for some time had no problem coping with the stony terrain of Swiss hiking trails. Now researchers at ETH Zurich have taught this quadrupedal robot some new skills: it is proving rather adept at parkour, a sport based on using athletic manoeuvres to smoothly negotiate obstacles in an urban environment, which has become very popular. ANYmal is also proficient at dealing with the tricky terrain commonly found on building sites or in disaster areas.

To teach ANYmal these new skills, two teams, both from the group led by ETH Professor Marco Hutter of the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering, followed different approaches.

Exhausting the mechanical options

Working in one of the teams is ETH doctoral student Nikita Rudin, who does parkour in his free time. “Before the project started, several of my researcher colleagues thought that legged robots had already reached the limits of their development potential,” he says, “but I had a different opinion. In fact, I was sure that a lot more could be done with the mechanics of legged robots.”

With his own parkour experience in mind, Rudin set out to further push the boundaries of what ANYmal could do. And he succeeded, by using machine learning to teach the quadrupedal robot new skills. ANYmal can now scale obstacles and perform dynamic manoeuvres to jump back down from them.

The source of this news is from ETH Zurich

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