Carnegie Mellon University-NREC is developing the CHIMP (CMU Highly Intelligent Mobile Platform) robot for executing complex tasks in dangerous, degraded, human-engineered environments. CHIMP will have near-human form factor, work-envelope, strength and dexterity to work effectively in such environments, yet avoid the need for complex control by maintaining static rather than dynamic stability.
We faced the difficult challenge of designing and building the robot at the same time that we developed the software. Without a complete robot, we developed and tested much of the software using a simulator and a surrogate robot arm. We used the results of the simulation tests to put finishing touches on the hardware design as the robot came together.
Developing a Robot for DRC:
We designed a robot (CHIMP) with near human form to fit in an environment engineered for humans. To avoid the tricky problem of balancing a walking robot as it moves over uneven terrain, CHIMP rolls on rubberized tracks to drive like a tank over obstacles and to position itself to perform manipulation tasks. CHIMP uses full 360-degree sensing to build a model of its environment to provide better situational awareness for a remote operator. CHIMP uses a blend of high-level commands and low-level autonomy to increase robot speed and to handle communications limitations.
Involvement in Prior DARPA Challenges:
A few members of our team participated in the DARPA Urban Challenge.