Disturbance Detection, Identification, and Recovery by Gait Transition in Legged

We present a framework for detecting, identifying, and recovering within stride from faults and other leg contact disturbances encountered by a walking hexapedal robot. Detection is achieved by means of a software contactevent sensor with no additional sensing hardware beyond the commercial actuators’ standard shaft encoders. A simple finite state machine identifies disturbances as due either to an expected ground contact, a missing ground contact indicating leg fault, or an unexpected “wall” contact. Recovery proceeds as necessary by means of a recently developed topological gait transition coordinator. We demonstrate the efficacy of this system by presenting preliminary data arising from two reactive behaviors — wall avoidance and leg-break recovery. We believe that extensions of this framework will enable reactive behaviors allowing the robot to function with guarded autonomy under widely varying terrain and self-health conditions.