CHIMP Swings Into the DARPA Challenge
The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University has announced its plans for the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC). The CHIMP (CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform) robot is roughly human-shaped, but with some innovative twists.
The robot can stand and walk like a humanoid, or it can get down on all fours and drive around with treads on its feet and forearms. It also has an in-between mode where it rolls on its foot treads, leaving its arms free to lift, carry, or manipulate. Its limbs also feature extra appendages that make it easier to do things like climb ladders. In the head are a variety of sensors that allow the robot to build a texture-mapped three-dimensional model of its environment.
The robot is designed to be semi-autonomous, much like many Robo-One robots: “Humans provide high-level control, while the robot provides low-level reflexes and self-protective behaviors,” explains Tony Stentz, leader of the “Tartan Rescue” team building the robot.
Of the seven “Track A” teams in the DRC, five of them are building fully human-style robots that dynamically balance walk around on two legs. But the CHIMP designers, striving for “simplicity and dependability,” chose a design that is statically stable in several different configurations.
While exact specifications have not been released, the robot is described as “human-scale” with “near-human strength and dexterity.”