One of the inherent problems of multi-limbed mobile robotic systems is the problem of multi-contact force distribution; the contact forces and moments at the feet required to support it and those required by its tasks are indeterminate. A new strategy for choosing an optimal solution for the contact force distribution of multi-limbed robots with three feet in contact with the environment in three-dimensional space is presented. The incremental strategy of opening up the friction cones is aided by using the “force space graph” which indicates where the solution is positioned in the solution space to give insight into the quality of the chosen solution and to provide robustness against disturbances. The “margin against slip with contact point priority” approach is also presented which finds an optimal solution with different priorities given to each foot contact point. Examples are presented to illustrate certain aspects of the method and ideas for other optimization criteria are discussed.

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