Robust Humanoid Contact Planning with Learned Zero- A nd One-Step Capturability Prediction

Yu Chi Lin, Ludovic Righetti, Dmitry Berenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Humanoid robots maintain balance and navigate by controlling the contact wrenches applied to the environment. While it is possible to plan dynamically-feasible motion that applies appropriate wrenches using existing methods, a humanoid may also be affected by external disturbances. Existing systems typically rely on controllers to reactively recover from disturbances. However, such controllers may fail when the robot cannot reach contacts capable of rejecting a given disturbance. In this letter, we propose a search-based footstep planner which aims to maximize the probability of the robot successfully reaching the goal without falling as a result of a disturbance. The planner considers not only the poses of the planned contact sequence, but also alternative contacts near the planned contact sequence that can be used to recover from external disturbances. Although this additional consideration significantly increases the computation load, we train neural networks to efficiently predict multi-contact zero-step and one-step capturability, which allows the planner to generate robust contact sequences efficiently. Our results show that our approach generates footstep sequences that are more robust to external disturbances than a conventional footstep planner in four challenging scenarios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8989791
Pages (from-to)2451-2458
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • Motion and path planning
  • deep learning in robotics and automation
  • humanoid and bipedal locomotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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