Last September, a group of MIT researchers demonstrated a horrific cheetah robot that was able to run totally untethered. This was possible without any cameras or vision systems of any kind.
Now the team has incorporated a LiDAR sensor into the cheetah. According to a statement by the team, they’ve developed “a three-part algorithm to map out the robot’s path, based on LIDAR data. Both the vision and path-planning system are onboard the robot, giving it complete autonomous control.”
The algorithm enables the machine to “detect an obstacle and estimate its size and distance,” after which it lets the robot “adjust its approach while nearing the obstacle.” The last portion of the algorithm “takes over to determine its jumping trajectory.”
MIT’s website has a lot more information about the algorithms and the challenges the team overcame to arrive at this point.
See below for a video of this this autonomous nightmare machine running and jumping over things.