Enabling remote whole-body control with 5G edge computing

Huaijiang Zhu, Manali Sharma, Kai Pfeiffer, Marco Mezzavilla, Jia Shen, Sundeep Rangan, Ludovic Righetti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Real-world applications require light-weight, energy-efficient, fully autonomous robots. Yet, increasing autonomy is oftentimes synonymous with escalating computational requirements. It might thus be desirable to offload intensive computation - not only sensing and planning, but also low-level whole-body control - to remote servers in order to reduce on-board computational needs. Fifth Generation (5G) wireless cellular technology, with its low latency and high bandwidth capabilities, has the potential to unlock cloud-based high performance control of complex robots. However, state-of-the-art control algorithms for legged robots can only tolerate very low control delays, which even ultra-low latency 5G edge computing can sometimes fail to achieve. In this work, we investigate the problem of cloud-based whole-body control of legged robots over a 5G link. We propose a novel approach that consists of a standard optimization-based controller on the network edge and a local linear, approximately optimal controller that significantly reduces on-board computational needs while increasing robustness to delay and possible loss of communication. Simulation experiments on humanoid balancing and walking tasks that includes a realistic 5G communication model demonstrate significant improvement of the reliability of robot locomotion under jitter and delays likely to be experienced in 5G wireless links.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781728162126
StatePublished - Oct 24 2020
Event2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: Oct 24 2020Jan 24 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems
ISSN (Print)2153-0858
ISSN (Electronic)2153-0866


Conference2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLas Vegas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications


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