BigDog's on-board computer controls locomotion, servos the legs and handles a variety of sensors. BigDog’s control system keeps it balanced, navigates, and regulates its energetics as conditions vary. Sensors for locomotion include joint position, joint force, ground contact, ground load, a gyroscope, LIDAR and a stereo vision system. Other sensors focus on the internal state of BigDog, monitoring the hydraulic pressure, oil temperature, engine functions, battery charge and others.
In separate tests BigDog runs at 4 mph, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, climbs a muddy hiking trail, walks in snow and water, and carries a 340 lb load. BigDog set a world's record for legged vehicles by traveling 12.8 miles without stopping or refueling.
The ultimate goal for BigDog is to develop a robot that can go anywhere people and animals can go. The program is funded by the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA.
To download a video of BigDog in action, click here. More BigDog videos are available at www.YouTube.com/BostonDynamics.
For a paper that summarizes the BigDog program, click here, or for overview slides click here.