Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Robo-dog HOUND sets new 100-metre robot sprint record

A four-legged robot, HOUND, designed and made by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Dynamic Robot Control and Design Laboratory in South Korea, has set a Guinness World Record by clocking the fastest 100-meter dash ever achieved by a quadruped robot.

HOUND has demonstrated an unprecedented level of robotic agility and speed by achieving a record-breaking time of 19.87 seconds at an average pace of 11.26 mph (18.12 km/h). Starting from a stationary position, the robot completed its sprint and reached a standstill after crossing the finish line.

“All of these movements were achieved with a single [motor] controller trained in the simulation through reinforcement learning,” said Young-Ha Shin, HOUND’s designer. “In order to push the limits of the actuator, motor characteristics were incorporated into the simulation to make the environment as close to the real world as possible. In simulation, it can accelerate to even higher speeds, but we haven’t tested it in the real world yet.”

HOUND robot is equipped with lightweight feet that are specialized for sprinting. It weighs around 45 kg, which is almost similar to the weight of an average adult male American bulldog. The robot’s comprehensive range of motion is achieved by configuring the hip and knee actuator modules in a parallel manner, along with a belt-pulley system to transmit the knee actuation to the knee joint.

The robo-dog is designed to move at high speeds and can run up to 3 m/s (6.7 mph), traverse over grass, walk long distances, climb a 22-degree slope, and traverse a 35-cm-high obstacle. Its optimized mechanical design makes all these abilities possible, especially the motor controller and gear configuration.

“Instantaneous and steady performance are important characteristics when deciding a motor for dynamic legged locomotion,” Young-Ha Shin explained.

The robo-dog’s range of movement and speed will undoubtedly continue to improve in the future as its creators continue to work on it. HOUND’s record-breaking sprint is just the beginning, and the world can look forward to advances in robotics and artificial intelligence.