Walking, legged robots may excel at climbing over obstacles, but wheels are still more efficient for travelling over smooth ground. That’s why engineers at ETH Zurich have added powered wheels to their existing ANYmal quadruped robot.
The basic unwheeled version of ANYmal has been around for several years now. Trotting along on its four mechanical legs, it’s able to make its way across uneven terrain, and it can even climb stairs. When it comes to simply moving along hallways or sidewalks, though, the robot would use considerably less battery power if it just rolled on wheels.
The new prototype addresses that problem, with four hub motor-equipped wheels that are attached to each of its feet.