HyQ Robot (IIT, Italy, 2007 – present)


HyQ Robot version 1.2 (2011)

The HyQ project started in Spring 2007 as my PhD project at the Advanced Robotics Department of the Italian Institute of Technology (under the supervision of Dr. Nikos Tsagarakis and Prof. Darwin Caldwell). The goal of this project is to develop a versatile quadruped robot that is able to perform highly dynamic motions such as running and jumping, and also precise navigation over rough terrain.
After extensive testing of a first leg prototype in 2008 and 2009, the first prototype of HyQ was operational in 2010. Since then, we have been gradually improving the robot hardware and software and we implemented several locomotion modes from walking to running and jumping. Motion planning, low and high level control, rigid body dynamics etc. are part of ongoing research.

Many people are contributing to this project. Only with their expert knowledge and experience such a project is possible. A list of my collaborators is shown below.

official project website (link)

Latest Youtube video, HyQ2Max robot (May 2015)

Earlier Youtube video (March 2014)

Earlier Youtube video (August 2013)

Earlier Youtube video (May 2012)

Earlier Youtube video (October 2011)


HyQ Robot version 1.3 (2013)

HyQ_and HyQ_blue HyQ_outdoor_v1.3_2013_a1

This version has improved hip actuators, hydraulic, sensing and electronics. The first image shows HyQ with HyQ-blue, which is a copy of HyQ that has recently been sold to our collaborators at the Agile and Dexterous Robotics Lab of ETH Zurich, headed by Prof. Jonas Buchli (team leader of the HyQ group from Aug 2010 till Aug 2012).
Picture credit to Agnese Abrusci (right) and Bilal Ur Rehman (left), both work at IIT.


HyQ Robot version 1.2 (2011)

This version has improved mechanical design, electronics, sensing and joint control.


HyQ Robot version 1.1 (2010)

C. Semini, N. G. Tsagarakis, E. Guglielmino, M. Focchi, F. Cannella and D. G. Caldwell, “Design of HyQ – a Hydraulically and Electrically Actuated Quadruped Robot,” Proc. IMechE Vol. 225 Part I: Journal of Systems and Control Engineering, 2011.   (pdf, tex, link)

C. Semini, J. Buchli, M. Frigerio, T. Boaventura, M. Focchi, E. Guglielmino, F. Cannella, N. G. Tsagarakis and D. G. Caldwell, “HyQ – A Dynamic Locomotion Research Platform,” International Workshop on Bio-Inspired Robots, Nantes (France), April 2011. (pdf)


HyQ Robot version 1.0 (2010)

C. Semini, “HyQ – Design and Development of a Hydraulically Actuated Quadruped Robot,” PhD Thesis, Italian Institute of Technology and University of Genoa, Italy, 2010. (pdf) (pdf in high resolution)


HyQ First Leg Prototype (2008, 2009)


C. Semini, N. G. Tsagarakis, B. Vanderborght, Y. S. Yang and D. G. Caldwell, “HyQ – Hydraulically Actuated Quadruped Robot: Hopping Leg Prototype,” IEEE/RAS-EMBS Int. Conf. on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob), pp.593-599, 2008. (pdf, tex)

C. Semini, N. G. Tsagarakis, D. G. Caldwell, “Dynamic Tasks of a Hydraulically Actuated Quadruped Robot, ” Poster at Dynamic Walking Conference, Delft (The Netherlands), May 2008.

C. Semini, N. G. Tsagarakis, D. G. Caldwell, “Bio-Inspired Design of a Hydraulically Actuated Quadruped Robot [HyQ],” Poster at Robotics: Science and Systems (RSS) Conference, Zurich (Switzerland), June 2008.

T. B. Cunha, C. Semini, E. Guglielmino, V. J. De Negri, Y. S. Yang, D. G. Caldwell, “Gain Scheduling Control for the Hydraulic Actuation of the HyQ Robot Leg,” Int. Conf. of Mechanical Engineering (COBEM), 2009.

M. Focchi, E. Guglielmino, C. Semini, T. B. Cunha, Y. S. Yang, D. G. Caldwell, “Control of a Hydraulically-Actuated Quadruped Robot Leg,” IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2010.

C. Semini, N. G. Tsagarakis, E. Guglielmino, D. G. Caldwell, “Design and Experimental Evaluation of the Hydraulically Actuated Prototype Leg of the HyQ Robot,” IEEE/RSJ Int. Conf. on Intelligent RObots and Systems (IROS), 2010.

HyQ in the media

RS@work newsletter of April 2009 (link)

LMS newsletter of March 2011 (link)

Einstein science program of Swiss TV channel SF (April 2011) (link), shown in May 2011 in 3SAT (link)


Article in EsPr3sSioni (May 2011) (link) and later in Agoravox (May 2011) (link)

Post on IEEE spectrum blog “HyQ Quadruped Robot From Italy Can Trot, Kick”  (October 2011)

Wired Italy Magazine “Ma gli androidi italiani sognano trenette al pesto?”, (November 2011) (link)

Post on IEEE spectrum blog “Italian Quadruped Robot goes for a Walk”  (May 2012)

Russian TV featuring HyQ (July 2012) (link)

Post on IEEE spectrum blog “HyQ Quadruped Robot Learns to Avoid Stumbles, Visits London” (July 2013)

Article in Citta’ di Genova (online newspaper) about the visit of Italian primeminister Enrico Letta to IIT and HyQ “Letta all’IIT: “Qui a Genova c’è un buon gioco di squadra e si guarda al futuro” (in Italian, August 2013)

Article in the newspaper of Coop Switzerland, translated into GermanItalian and French (September 2013)

A full feature on Discovery Channel Canada on HyQ (the link to the aired show only works in Canada) (January 2014)

The Gadget Show of Channel 5 visited IIT and reported on iCub, Coman and HyQ (February 2014)

Post on IEEE spectrum blog: “HyQ quadruped robot is back with even more tricks” (March 2014)

HyQ was featured in ‘The Tech Show‘, produced by Manoto1 for The Marjan TV Network and broadcasted on the 18th of August, 2014.

Article and video interview on Italian newspaper Secolo XIX (1st of September 2014)

HyQ will be mentioned in an article of PANORAMA magazine on (in Autumn 2014).


My collaborators on the HyQ project

for an up-to-date list, please visit http://www.iit.it/hyq



the project is funded by the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (link)