Snakes change their locomotion patterns in response to the environment. This ability is a motivation for developing snake-like robots with highly adaptive functionality. In this study, a decentralised control scheme of snake-like robots that exhibited autonomous gait transition (i.e. the transition between concertina locomotion in narrow aisles and scaffold-based locomotion on unstructured terrains) was developed. Additionally, the control scheme was validated via simulations. A key insight revealed is that these locomotion patterns were not preprogrammed but emerged by exploiting Tegotae, a concept that describes the extent to which a perceived reaction matches a generated action. Unlike local reflexive mechanisms proposed previously, the Tegotae-based feedback mechanism enabled the robot to 'selectively' exploit environments beneficial for propulsion, and generated reasonable locomotion patterns. It is expected that the results of this study can form the basis to design robots that can work under unpredictable and unstructured environments.
- autonomous decentralized control
- gait transition
- snake locomotion