History of Robotics Research and Development of Japan2000LocomotionDevelopment of Humanoid Robot

Ryntaro YoshinoHonda Motor Co., Ltd.
HONDA began the research of the consumer robot as the next commodity to automobiles in 1986. The humanoid robot was set to be the goal, after determining what the consumer robot should be. The research and development was started with an aim to establish biped walking technology, which was thought to be the most difficult. The authors started with the stabilization research of walking on uneven floor. At first, they tried static walking over a convex part on the floor and a slope. The stabilization was achieved by the compliance control and the inclination feedback control of the ankles. The compliance control of the ankles has developed into the landing impact absorption technology of dynamic walking. In the research of dynamic walking in the beginning of 1990’s, technologies that estimate absolute angles and absolute angular acceleration from inclination sensor and stabilize the body by state feedback control were developed [1]. However, there were the response delay by the friction torque and the spillover vibration by non-collocated system because each joints was torque controlled, which slowed down the response speed required to achieve an average walking speed of human. The high-speed walking at 3km/h, equivalent to that of an average man, became possible by controlling disturbance with a high-speed joint position servo, and adding the stabilization control with the inclination sensor to the servo system. From 1993, the manipulation research was carried out as a research topic of the humanoid robot. Based on “a double robot” concept that is suitable for the humanoid robot, the research on force feedback master-slave manipulators has started, which led to completion of the tele-operation system of a redundant arm with 7 DOF joints. In addition, it was thought that a dexterous hand that can manipulate tools like human was essential to the humanoid robot, so the multi-joint multi-finger hand with an original force sensor was developed. Using the arm hand, the task of nut installation completed successfully. 15th RSJ Best Paper Award in 2001.

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