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December 14, 2021
Conducting Joint Demonstration Experiments at Construction Sites with Shimizu Corporation
Tokyo, Japan â Sony Group Corporation ("Sony") announced today that it has developed a robot capable of stable and high-efficiency locomotion across uneven terrain.
The robot's ground contact section features a six-legged wheel configuration consisting of six leg structures equipped with wheel actuators. The robot uses wheels on flat ground, and both wheels and legs to move up and down areas with height differences, such as stairs. This design makes possible stable, high-efficiency locomotion even in environments where level and uneven terrains coexist. This model inherits the design concept of the four-legged walking robot Sony exhibited at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2021, which distributes the load placed on the legs during operation and when standing still. This design enables the robot to transport a heavy load up to 20 kilograms and achieves high energy efficiency.
The robot has been developed at Sony's R&D Center.
The robot's ground contact section features a six-legged wheel configuration consisting of six leg structures equipped with wheel actuators. This allows for a hybrid mechanism that switches between wheeled locomotion using the wheel actuators, and legged locomotion driven by six alternating legs, depending on demands of the environment. The robot uses wheels on even surfaces, and both wheels and legs to move up and down areas with height differences, such as stairs. This method is faster than legged locomotion only, and enables efficient traversal, maintaining speed even when moving from flat ground across uneven surfaces. Moreover, the six-legged configuration ensures three points of contact with the ground at all times, providing smooth center of gravity locomotion with no rocking, regardless of whether the robot is moving across flat or uneven terrain.
This robot inherits the design concepts of the four-legged robot that Sony exhibited at IROS 2021, which distributes the load placed on the legs and motors. This design makes it possible to transport heavy loads up to 20 kilograms and minimizes the amount of energy expended to support the robot's weight when standing still, resulting in a high level of energy efficiency. These features have been leveraged to transport heavy loads and allow for various potential applications such as patrol and monitoring and surveying tasks, by mounting equipment such as a 360-degree camera capable of capturing still images and video and surveying equipment.
Sony has built a system that can ensure safe, stable, autonomous control even when the robot operates with people in the same spaces, anticipating practical applications for various industries. Special features include the Sony original whole-body cooperative control system, which flexibly controls the force applied to the robot's joints and enables stable operation even when traveling across uneven terrain with unstable surfaces. The robot also features automatic avoidance behaviors that minimize shock and disperse force when external force is applied. Going forward, the goal is to improve its autonomous locomotion capabilities such as the capacity to formulate travel routes, while ensuring stable control.
Instantaneous heavy current is required during legged locomotion; however, the robot comes with an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC) that enables peak current provision. This also keeps the size of the battery down, making the compact design possible. In the future, Sony will work to achieve an even more efficient battery and a more compact, lightweight design.
|Size||Height: 720 - 1220 mm (500 mm variable stroke)
Length: 912 mm
Width: 672 mm
|Total weight (including battery)||89 kg|
|Transportable weight||Max. 20 kg|
|Locomotion speed||Max. 1.7 m/s|
|Locomotion height step||Max. 30 cm|
|Continuous Operating time||Approx. 4 hours (Differs depending on operating pattern)|
|Degree of freedom||16 drive axes (linear motion: 6 axes, hip rotation: 6 axes, drive wheel: 4 axes)
4 passive axes (Sony original single omni-wheel)