Efficient Multicontact Pattern Generation with Sequential Convex Approximations of the Centroidal Dynamics

Brahayam Ponton, Majid Khadiv, Avadesh Meduri, Ludovic Righetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates the problem of efficient computation of physically consistent multicontact behaviors. Recent work showed that under mild assumptions, the problem could be decomposed into simpler kinematic and centroidal dynamic optimization problems. Based on this approach, we propose a general convex relaxation of the centroidal dynamics leading to two computationally efficient algorithms based on iterative resolutions of second-order cone programs. They optimize centroidal trajectories, contact forces, and importantly the timing of the motions. We include the approach in a kinodynamic optimization method to generate full-body movements. Finally, the approach is embedded in a mixed-integer solver to further find dynamically consistent contact sequences. Extensive numerical experiments demonstrate the computational efficiency of the approach, suggesting that it could be used in a fast receding horizon control loop. Executions of the planned motions on simulated humanoids and quadrupeds and on a real quadruped robot further show the quality of the optimized motions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1661-1679
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Multi-contact planning
  • kino-dynamic planning
  • legged robots
  • optimal control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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