European researchers have launched a project trying to teach robots to walk like humans to improve their abilities to work in various environments.
The KoroiBot project, launched this week, has received some £3.5m of funding from the European Union.
Bringing together experts in robotics, mathematics and cognitive sciences, the project will first focus on understanding and describing precisely human locomotion, to transfer this understanding onto the robots in later stages.
“One of the major challenges on the way is to enable robots to move on two legs in different situations, without an accident – in spite of unknown terrain and also with possible disturbances,” said the project’s coordinator Professor Katja Mombaur from Heidelberg University, Germany.
The team will develop advanced mathematical algorithms to help the machines walk as gracefully as possible. Eventually, the robots should be able to overcome various obstacles, including stairs, slopes, and soft or slippery ground.
The team plans to implement the results with existing robots as well as use the knowledge to design the future generation of these systems.
Some findings, the team believes, could possibly be transferred into other areas. In medicine, for example, they can help advance control of artificial limbs. They can be used to design and control exoskeletons and improve computer design and animation.
The Heidelberg University researchers work together on the three-year project with team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the French National Centre National for Scientific Research, the Italian Institute of Tecnology, and the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.