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Bridging the gap between bio-inspired steering and locomotion: A Braitenberg 3a Snake robot

A new paper has been accepted for publication in the Proceeding of the 15th IEEE International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision (ICARCV), Singapore, November 18-21, 2018. The selected article is:

Inaki Rano, Augusto Gómez Eguíluz and Filippo Sanfilippo. Bridging the gap between bio-inspired steering and locomotion: A Braitenberg 3a Snake robot. Accepted for publication in the Proceeding of the 15th IEEE International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision (ICARCV), Singapore, November 18-21, 2018.

I thank all my co-authors and congratulate all of them for their contribution.

Braitenberg vehicles are simple models of animal motion towards, or away from, a stimulus (light, sound, chemicals, etc). They have been widely used in robotics to implement target reaching and avoidance behaviours based on different types of sensors. While the seminal work of Brait- enberg used wheeled vehicles to illustrate these principles of animal steering, few attempts have been made to combine these steering level controllers with other locomotion mechanism than active wheels. This paper presents the first implementation of a biologically inspired steering controller in a snake-like robot with passive wheels and active joints. The sinusoidal gait of the snake is modulated following the principles of the Braitenberg vehicles by using two sensors symmetrically located on the head. The effectiveness of this bio-inspired controller is shown through simulations where the snake orients its head and body with the direction of the stimulus gradient, and reaches the stimulus maximum within some range. This paper represents one of the first steps towards the connection of bio-inspired sensor based steering mechanisms and bio- inspired locomotion, and shows that existing theoretical results of Braitenberg vehicles with active wheels also apply to a snake- like robot with passive wheels.

This video shows a simulated snake robot controlled by a Braitenberg vehicle 3a (positive taxis) moving in simulated stimuli. The snake has two sensors on both sides of the head, wheels are not actuated (i.e. they have no motors) but joints are. The Braitenberg vehicle controls the offset and aptitude of the gait generator.

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Bridging the gap between bio-inspired steering and locomotion: A Braitenberg 3a Snake robot - Filippo Sanfilippo
Filippo Sanfilippo