Low Noise, High Efficiency Hydraulics for Mobile Robots

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Contract: D11PC20084
Agency Tracking Number: 10SB3-0001
Amount: $148,441.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: SB103-001
Solicitation Number: 2010.3
Small Business Information
Berkeley Exoworks
2546 Tenth St, Berkeley, CA, -
DUNS: 190152921
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kurt Amundson
 Sr. Engineer
 (510) 295-5877
Business Contact
 Russ Angold
Title: VP Business Development
Phone: (415) 465-7877
Email: russ@berkeleybionics.com
Research Institution
Hydraulic actuation systems for mobile robotics are characterized by high bandwidth, high power density, robust operation, flexible power transmission but also by low efficiency, high rejected heat, and high noise levels. The undesirable characteristics of hydraulic power systems are not inherent to fluid power transmission; they are the result of the highly inefficient techniques used to control the power delivered to individual actuators. The spool valve architecture that dominates hydraulic servo systems has roots in gasoline powered heavy equipment where efficiency and noise are not primary concerns; this architecture is not appropriate for modern mobile robotics. Berkeley Bionics has been a leader in innovating novel hydraulic systems for mobile robotics from our roots working with hydraulic servo systems on the DARPA exoskeletons program at the University of California, Berkeley. Our current third generation HULC exoskeleton, under development with Lockheed Martin, uses proprietary hydraulic components and non-standard servo controls. Currently our electro-hydraulic actuation systems have overall efficiencies nearing 50%. The proposed project builds on our industry leading technology to design an electro-hydraulic actuation system that will rival the overall efficiency of an electro-mechanical actuation system, while maintaining an extremely low audible signature and the intrinsic benefits of hydraulic actuation.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government