Brachiation is a maneuver unique to monkeys and apes, moving from one branch to another by switching arms.
This dynamic motion takes place in the air with a pendulum swing style using gravity and does not have the complexity of ground obstacles.
However, navigation in the unstructured environment with a broad spectrum of flexible and rigid handholds with different distances makes this motion challenging and interesting to study.
This area gained attention in robotics due to these privileges, especially attractive for inspection and surveillance purposes.
This thesis aims to build a foundation for the research in the field of underactuated brachiation for the horizontally laid ladder with equal bar distances.
The thesis addresses the mechatronics integration and optimal locomotion of an ape-like brachiation robot called AcroMonk.
AcroMonk is a portable wireless robot with an onboard battery that seeks to imitate the swing motion of the apes and gibbons.
An appropriate electrical circuit and a remote emergency switch are designed for the robot, and the proposed design's functionality is validated through hardware experiments.
Optimal locomotion for this robot is composed of trajectory optimization and trajectory stabilization.
A direct collocation method is employed for trajectory optimization.
The maneuver is divided into four sub-behaviors inspired by the monkey brachiation, and the formulation of the optimal trajectory for each motion is addressed individually.
A Time-Varying Linear Quadratic Regulator~(TVLQR) and a Proportional-Derivative~(PD) controller are used for trajectory stabilization.
The closed-loop trajectory tracking architecture with the optimal trajectories suggested by the direct collocation is conducted in simulation and hardware tests.
Furthermore, the performance of the controllers is compared in the presence of model uncertainty and disturbance rejection.