HyQ – Hydraulically actuated quadruped robot


HyQ is a hydraulically actuated quadruped robot, which can run, jump, and as well as travel in the uneven terrains. It was developed by Professor Darwin Caldwell and his team members in the Department of Advanced Robotics at IIT (Istituto Italiano Di Tecnologia).


HyQ robot has a weight of 90 kilograms with the on board hydraulic power supply, and 70 kilograms with the external hydraulics. It measures 1 meter of length, 50 centimeters of width, and 98 centimeters of height. It is developed with stainless steel, and covered with 3 millimeters thick aluminum alloy sheet.

HyQ is equipped with four light-weight legs with an actively compliant feature. It has 12 joints in total, and each leg includes three degrees of freedom for providing high flexibility on every movement. The hydraulic cylinders are used to actuate eight joints of the leg, while the other four joints are activated by brushless dc motors.

Each joint is built-in with load cells and encoders for controlling the torque and position of the legs. In addition, it uses actuators for absorbing vibrations and shocks while performing heavy tasks. The design of legs is yet in developmental stage, and the researchers plan to make the energy-efficient legs.


HyQ can determine the sufficient torque to be applied on each joint during different movements with the help of its Linux running PC. This quadruped robot is capable of:

  • Running fast at a speed of up to 9 miles per hour (15 kilometers per hour).
  • Rearing as similar to a horse.
  • Kicking the box.
  • Squat jumping.

Due to hydraulic actuation, it can provide increased velocity, power, and torque production.


HyQ has the robust design and can be used in several applications like forest, construction, rescue missions, and more. It may not be a handy one for the military applications as it does not have the capacity to carry heavy payloads as like Boston Dynamics’ quadrupeds.

You can catch the action of HyQ in the video below:

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