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Marko Bjelonic




#Machine Learning
#Optimal Control
#Autonomous Systems
#Wheeled-Legged Locomotion

I am known for developing the wheeled-legged robot ANYmal, which was part of my PhD at the Robotic Systems Lab of ETH Zurich. The supervisors of my PhD are Marco Hutter from ETH Zurich, Stelian Coros from ETH Zurich, and Sangbae Kim from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As a postdoc, I continue my dream of bringing wheeled-legged robots to real-world applications. Stay tuned!

Topic of my PhD

Planning and Control for Hybrid Locomotion of Wheeled-Legged Robots (Reuters Press Release) (IROS2021.pdf) (ICRA2020-Presentation.mp4)

The research community in legged robotics focuses on bio-inspired robots, although there are some human inventions that nature could not recreate. One of the most significant examples is the wheel that has made our transportation system more efficient and faster, especially in urban environments. Inspired by this human-made evolution, we developed the wheeled-legged robot ANYmal with non-steerable wheels attached to its legs, allowing the robot to be efficient on flat as well as agile on challenging terrain.

This dissertation describes an optimization-based framework to perform complex and dynamic locomotion strategies for robots with legs and wheels. The proposed method allows to perform novel maneuvers, which exploit the wheeled-legged robot's full capabilities over challenging obstacles. By combining innovative techniques in motion control and planning, this work reveals the full potential of wheeled-legged robots and their superiority compared to their legged counterparts. This novel platform, with powered wheels, achieves a speed of 4 m/s on flat terrain, overcomes challenging obstacles with 1.5 m/s, and reduces the cost of transport by 83 % compared to legged systems. The work in this dissertation is published in two conference proceedings and three journal articles.

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