ASTM legged robotics committee proposes new test method

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Boston Dynamics’ Spot quadruped reading an MFE gauge. | Source: Boston Dynamics

ASTM International‘s Robotics, Automation, and Autonomous Systems committee has proposed a new test method for disturbance rejection tested of legged robotics.

ASTM WK86916 will target testing methods, terminologies, specifications, scope, and other discussions centered around the disturbance rejection testing of legged robotics. ASTM noticed that currently there is no standard in this area which is why it decided to start focusing the efforts of its latest subcommittee on this issue. 

“Our goal is to develop detailed testing methods and measurements that can accurately evaluate the locomotion stability of a legged robot (i.e., walking without falling-over),” ASTM member and Technical Specialist at Transportation Research Center Inc. Bowen Weng said. “The primary objective is to ensure the robot’s performance is safe and compatible enough to interact with humans in commercial and industrial environments.”

According to Weng, designers, manufacturers, researchers, regulatory bodies, and consumers should find use in this proposed standard. 

“With the proposal as a start point, they can work together to form a community-wide consensus on the appropriate capability of legged robots in terms of disturbance rejection,” Weng said.

This testing standard is still under development within ASTM, and the committee is still seeking participation from experts in the field. The committee’s goal is to have as many voices contributing to this work as possible. If you are interested in joining this new subcommittee, please go to this page to start the membership process.

ASTM approved the creation of the legged robotics subcommittee in May 2023. The subcommittee aims to develop standards and testing procedures to effectively evaluate the performance of legged robots, whether they be bipedal or quadrupedal.

RoboBusiness 2023, which is produced by The Robot Report, will be hosting a keynote panel on Oct. 18 about the state of humanoid robotics development. The panel will explore the technological breakthroughs that are propelling humanoids into the real world. Jeff Cardenas (Apptronik), Jonathan Hurst (Agility Robotics) and Geordie Rose (Sanctuary) will share insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and discuss the industries poised to be early adopters. 

RoboBusiness is the leading event focused on developing commercial robots. There will be 60-plus speakers, 100-plus exhibitors and demos on the expo floor, networking receptions and more. You can check out the current list of speakers, to which more will be added. The Pitchfire Startup Competition will again be held at RoboBusiness. During the competition, five robotics startups deliver five-minute pitches to compete for a $5,000 first-place prize and invaluable feedback from industry investors.