Six-legged walking robot for demanding inspection tasks


Since the early 1990s, the FZI Research Center for Information Technology has been working on the development of intelligent, multi-legged walking robots: what began with a prototype made of wood is now the highly complex, autonomous walking robot LAURON V. The name LAURON (German for: LAUfender ROboter Neuronal gesteuert) originates from the first generation, which, in contrast to the current generation, was still controlled by neural networks. The six-legged kinematics allow biological, insect-like walking approaches to be reproduced. They are characterized by robust walking for demanding inspection tasks. The sixth generation will be presented to the public in 2024.

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FZI in-house construction without third-party specifications

Flexibly equipped

Sensor and actuator equipment customized for use and application

Open source

ROS 2 as the basis for flexible control and application

Biologically inspired

Modeled on the stick insect

With its Applied Artificial Intelligence research focus, the FZI is a scientific leader in the research of interactive diagnostic and service systems and contributes to their implementation of useful and tailor-made solutions for industry and society.

Technical details of Generation V

Special kinematics

  • Six legs
  • Lightweight construction made of aviation aluminum

Static stability and mobility even on difficult terrain

Improved adaptability

  • Four degrees of freedom per leg
  • 24 degrees of freedom in total

Robust gripping and coping with steep inclines

Flexible sensor technology

  • 360° swivel sensor head
  • Mission-specific sensors
  • Laser scanner on the back for 3D mapping

Specific equipment for individual inspection tasks

The complex in-house development of the LAURON series demonstrates the extensive know-how of the FZI Research Center for Information Technology in the development of prototypes and the use of walking robotics.

Development of the LAURON series


LAURON V was presented at the IEEE robotics conference ICRA in 2013. The fifth generation is characterized by an additional rotational joint. The kinematics are even closer to the biological model and ensure safe locomotion. LAURON V can be used for demanding inspection, search, and rescue tasks, which was tested at the DLR SpaceBot Cup in 2012. The robot is located in the FZI House of Living Labs and is currently used for research purposes.


LAURON IV was developed in 2004 and is characterized by improved robustness compared to its predecessor model. Toothed belts replace the cables in the legs. The head has two degrees of freedom. The central body is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Two embedded PCs and unique motor control electronics are used for control. Three examples of the fourth generation have been put into operation. They are currently in various university institutes and museums in Europe.


LAURON III dates back to 1999 when the neural networks of previous generations were replaced by a modular and reactive robot control system. In addition to walking, the robot was also used to research localization, navigation, and environmental modeling. Eight robot systems of this generation were built and sold. One of them is still in the FZI House of Living Labs, another is in the Technoseum in Mannheim.


LAURON II dates back to 1994 and was characterized by a revised design and additional foot force and tilt sensors. Heavy legs made of aluminum increased the robot’s weight to 16 kilograms. LAURON II served as a test platform for control strategies and machine learning.


Lauron I was presented to the public at CEBIT in 1994. Its central body was made of aluminum, and its legs were fiber-reinforced plastic. It weighed around 11 kilograms. The robot was controlled with the help of neural networks. The stick insect served as biological inspiration. Today, LAURON I is owned by the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

Thanks to its modular equipment and safe operation, the LAURON system can carry out complex missions autonomously, even in particularly difficult terrain.


Carsten Plasberg

Research Scientist
Division: Intelligent Systems and Production Engineering

About the FZI

As an independent research institution, the FZI Research Center for Information Technology supports you in solving your problems. We offer

  • robust, modern robot platforms
  • extensive knowledge of robotics software frameworks
  • contract research, prototype development, or exchange of experience
  • feasibility studies, pilot applications, and evaluation in practice
  • training and further education

LAURON generations in use

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