Design of Time-Varying Hybrid Zero Dynamics Controllers for Exponential Stabilization of Agile Quadrupedal Locomotion

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Virginia Tech

This thesis explores the development of time-varying virtual constraint controllers that allow stable and agile gaits for full-order hybrid dynamical models of quadrupedal locomotion. Unlike time-invariant nonlinear controllers, time-varying controllers do not rely on sensor data for gait phasing and can initiate locomotion from zero velocity. Motivated by these properties, we investigate the stability guarantees that can be provided by the time-varying approach. More specifically, we systematically establish necessary and sufficient conditions that guarantee exponential stability of periodic orbits for time-varying hybrid dynamical systems utilizing the Poincar� return map. Leveraging the results of the presented proof, we develop time-varying virtual constraint controllers to stabilize bounding, trotting, and walking gaits of a 14 degree of freedom quadrupedal robot, Minitaur. A framework for selecting the parameters of virtual constraint controllers to achieve exponential stability is shown, and the feasibility of the analytical results is numerically validated in full-order model simulations of Minitaur.

Nonlinear Control, Quadrupedal Locomotion