This paper presents a computationally efficient technique for the solution of the force distribution problem in walking machines. It differs from previous techniques in two important respects. First, the formulation of the problem allows for arbitrarily oriented surface normals at the point of contact between the feet and the ground. This is an important extension since the primary purpose of legged vehicles is locomotion on rough terrain. Second, the solution technique allows for the introduction of nonlinear constraints which can be tailored to achieve secondary goals in system performance. An example is presented which is based on the geometry of the Ohio State University Adaptive Suspension Vehicle which indicates that the technique performs favorably when compared to pseudo-inverse and computationally intensive optimization methods.

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