DASH, the Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod, is a small, lightweight, power autonomous robot capable of running at speeds up to 15 body lengths per second. Drawing inspiration from biomechanics, DASH has a sprawled posture and uses an alternating tripod gait to achieve dynamic open-loop horizontal locomotion. The kinematic design which uses only a single drive motor and allows for a high power density is presented. The design is implemented using a scaled Smart Composite Manufacturing (SCM) process. Two different means of turning are presented, one of which is actuated. Actuated turning results from altering the kinematics via body deformation, a method supported by a simple 2-D dynamic model. Evidence is given that DASH runs with a gait that can be characterized using the spring-loaded inverted pendulum (SLIP) model. In-situ power measurements are performed to give cost of transport values both on hard ground and granular media. In addition to having high maximum forward velocities, DASH is also well suited to surviving falls from large heights due to the uniquely compliant nature of its structure.




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