High-speed bounding with the MIT Cheetah 2: Control design and experiments

Hae Won Park, Patrick M. Wensing, Sangbae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the design and implementation of a bounding controller for the MIT Cheetah 2 and its experimental results. The paper introduces the architecture of the controller along with the functional roles of its subcomponents. The application of impulse scaling provides feedforward force profiles that automatically adapt across a wide range of speeds. A discrete gait pattern stabilizer maintains the footfall sequence and timing. Continuous feedback is layered to manage balance during the stance phase. Stable hybrid limit cycles are exhibited in simulation using simplified models, and are further validated in untethered three-dimensional bounding experiments. Experiments are conducted both indoors and outdoors on various man-made and natural terrains. The control framework is shown to provide stable bounding in the hardware, at speeds of up to 6.4 m/s and with a minimum total cost of transport of 0.47. These results are unprecedented accomplishments in terms of efficiency and speed in untethered experimental quadruped machines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-192
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Legged robots
  • biologically-inspired robots
  • dynamics
  • motion control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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