Sven Behnke — University of Bonn, Germany.


Title: “Hybrid wheeled-legged locomotion in semi-structured environments.”

Locomotion in uneven terrain is important for a wide range of robotic applications. Our robot Momaro, which was developed for participation in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, is equipped with four legs ending in pairs of steerable wheels. This allows for omnidirectional driving, adaptation of the upper body height and attitude relative to the terrain, and for stepping over and onto obstacles. The robot is equipped with a 3D laser scanner for omnidirectional environment perception. From the registered 3D scans, a 2D height map is created, obstacles are detected, and the wheel motions are contained appropriately. In case a step is necessary, the weight is shifted by moving the base relative to the wheels in sagittal direction, driving the wheels on the ground relative to the base, or by modifying the leg lengths and thus the base orientation. The robot executes parameterized stepping motions. It has demonstrated that it can overcome various obstacles, e.g. climbing over a bar. At the DARPA Robotics Challenge, it climbed out of a car and drove through debris. The Momaro robot also demonstrated the climbing of stairs.

Sven Behnke received his MS degree in Computer Science (Dipl.-Inform.) in 1997 from Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. In 2002, he obtained a PhD in Computer Science (Dr. rer. nat.) from Freie Universität Berlin. He spent the year 2003 as postdoctoral researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, CA. From 2004 to 2008, Professor Behnke headed the Humanoid Robots Group at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Since April 2008, he is professor for Autonomous Intelligent Systems at the University of Bonn and director of the Institute of Computer Science VI. His research interests include cognitive robotics, computer vision, and machine learning.


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