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Bilal Ur Rehman

Post Doc
PhD Fellow, Mechanical designing, hydraulics contr

Former colleague

Research Line

Advanced Robotics


IIT Central Research Lab Genova



Bilal Ur Rehman was born in Faisalabad, Pakistan. He earned a Bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering at the Comsats Institute of Information and Technology Pakistan in 2009. He acquired a Master’s in Robotics and Control at Umea University, Sweden.

During his master studies, he worked with development of simulation model and parameter identification techniques for electro-hydraulically actuated manipulators and System Identification techniques to derive data-driven models for the mineral froth flotation process.

Since the beginning of 2013 he is a member of the Advance Robotics Department at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT). He started his PhD research project to "Design and control of a dual arm system for the HyQ robot" under the supervision of Claudio Semini and Darwin Caldwell.


Deisgn and Control of a Dual Arm system for a Quadruped Robot (2013-present).

1. The Hydraulically Actuated Arm:

The Hydraullically actuated arm is designed, build and controlled by Bilal Ur Rehman as his on going PhD work. The designed arm is a compact and light-weight hydraulic robotic arm that is full torque controlled and without an external control unit. Perfectly suitable to be mounted on quadruped robots which are meant to perform sophisticated dynamic tasks. The designed arm is equipped with position encoder, torque and force sensors to achieve torque control. The video presents preliminary experimental results, demonstrating torque controlled capability to change joint impedance and user and robot interaction while performing a continuous motion with different speeds.



Video(s): Design of a Hydraulically Actuated Arm for a Quadruped Robot.

System Overview

The following table lists the key specifications of the robotic arm.

Specification Value Joint Total range-of-motion Torque
Arm extension 0.743m Shoulder Adduction/Abduction  (SAA) -3.14/0.52 [rad] 126[Nm]
Weight 12.5kg Shoulder Flexion/Extension (SFE) -0.74/0.83 [rad] 120[Nm]
Maximum payload (fully extended) 10kg Humerus Rotation (HR) -1.57/0.068 [rad] 120[Nm]
Actuation system Hydraulics Elbow Flexion /Extension (EFE) 0/2.21 [rad] 225[Nm]
Control mode Torque controlled Wrist Rotation (WR) -2.01/1.57 [rad] 60[Nm]
Degree of freedom 6Dof (3+1+2) Wrist Flexion/Extension (WFE) -1.57/0.52 [rad] 100[Nm]

The HyQ-Centaur is part of privately funded European project called “AGILITY” with IIT, ETH and MPI

2. HyQ-Centaur


Legged robots with arms can potentially replace humans in dangerous and dirty tasks, where vehicles with wheels and tracks cannot go. Possible application domains are; disaster recovery (such as cleaning-up the Fukushima nuclear power plant), search and rescue, forestry and construction. Traditionally quadrupeds have been limited to load carrying or observation tasks as they have no manipulation ability. To remove this limitation, arms can be added to the body of the robot, enabling manipulation and providing assistance to the robot during body stabilization. The arm system will add a new dexterous manipulation capability to the already wide range of abilities of the HyQ, e.g., trotting, running, jumping, stabilization, external disturbance rejection, quick reflex action, and careful foot hold planning during navigation through unstructured terrain. This enables HyQ to perform new tasks, including: removing obstacles, grasping and manipulating objects, opening doors, or assisting the robot's balance (see Fig. 1 and 2).

HyQ centaur robot concept1 reduced

Figure 1: Conceptual tasks performed by the centaur robot: (left) opening a door (right) carrying an object.

HyQ centaur robot concept2

Figure 2: Conceptual tasks performed by the centaur robot: (left) passing through a narrow passage, (right) stabilization of the robot body.


Selected Publications

B. Ur. Rehman, M. Focchi, M. Frigerio, J. Goldsmith, D. G. Caldwell, C. Semini, "Design of a Hydraulically Actuated Arm for a Quadruped Robot", Proceedings of the International Conference on Climbing and Walking Robots (CLAWAR), 2015

C. Semini, J. Goldsmith, B. Ur Rehman, M. Frigerio, V. Barasuol, M. Focchi, D. G. Caldwell, Design overview of the hydraulic quadruped robots HyQ2Max and HyQ2Centaur, The Fourteenth Scandinavian International Conference on Fluid Power (SICFP), 2015

P. La Hera, B. Ur Rehman, D. Ort ́ız, “Electro-hydraulically actuated forestry manipulator: Modeling and Identification,” in Proceedings of the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems Celebrating 25 Years of IROS, Vilamoura, Algarve Portugal, October 7th -12th , 2012.

P. La Hera, B. Ur Rehman, A. Sanderg, “Modeling an industrial flotation process: A case study at the mining company Boliden AB,”in Proceedings of World Automation Congress - ISIAC 2012 - 9th International Symposium on Intelligent Automation and Control, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, June 24th-28th 2012.


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I numeri di IIT

L’Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) è una fondazione di diritto privato - cfr. determinazione Corte dei Conti 23/2015 “IIT è una fondazione da inquadrare fra gli organismi di diritto pubblico con la scelta di un modello di organizzazione di diritto privato per rispondere all’esigenza di assicurare procedure più snelle nella selezione non solo nell’ambito nazionale dei collaboratori, scienziati e ricercatori ”.

IIT è sotto la vigilanza del Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca e del Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze ed è stato istituito con la Legge 326/2003. La Fondazione ha l'obiettivo di promuovere l'eccellenza nella ricerca di base e in quella applicata e di favorire lo sviluppo del sistema economico nazionale. La costruzione dei laboratori iniziata nel 2006 si è conclusa nel 2009.

Lo staff complessivo di IIT conta circa 1440 persone. L’area scientifica è rappresentata da circa l’85% del personale. Il 45% dei ricercatori proviene dall’estero: di questi, il 29% è costituito da stranieri provenienti da oltre 50 Paesi e il 16% da italiani rientrati. Oggi il personale scientifico è composto da circa 60 principal investigators, circa 110 ricercatori e tecnologi di staff, circa 350 post doc, circa 500 studenti di dottorato e borsisti, circa 130 tecnici. Oltre 330 posti su 1400 creati su fondi esterni. Età media 34 anni. 41% donne / 59 % uomini.

Nel 2015 IIT ha ricevuto finanziamenti pubblici per circa 96 milioni di euro (80% del budget), conseguendo fondi esterni per 22 milioni di euro (20% budget) provenienti da 18 progetti europei17 finanziamenti da istituzioni nazionali e internazionali, circa 60 progetti industriali

La produzione di IIT ad oggi vanta circa 6990 pubblicazioni, oltre 130 finanziamenti Europei e 11 ERC, più di 350 domande di brevetto attive, oltre 12 start up costituite e altrettante in fase di lancio. Dal 2009 l’attività scientifica è stata ulteriormente rafforzata con la creazione di dieci centri di ricerca nel territorio nazionale (a Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) e internazionale (MIT ed Harvard negli USA) che, unitamente al Laboratorio Centrale di Genova, sviluppano i programmi di ricerca del piano scientifico 2015-2017.

IIT: the numbers

Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) is a public research institute that adopts the organizational model of a private law foundation. IIT is overseen by Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell'Università e della Ricerca and Ministero dell'Economia e delle Finanze (the Italian Ministries of Education, Economy and Finance).  The Institute was set up according to Italian law 326/2003 with the objective of promoting excellence in basic and applied research andfostering Italy’s economic development. Construction of the Laboratories started in 2006 and finished in 2009.

IIT has an overall staff of about 1,440 people. The scientific staff covers about 85% of the total. Out of 45% of researchers coming from abroad 29% are foreigners coming from more than 50 countries and 16% are returned Italians. The scientific staff currently consists of approximately 60 Principal Investigators110 researchers and technologists350 post-docs and 500 PhD students and grant holders and 130 technicians. External funding has allowed the creation of more than 330 positions . The average age is 34 and the gender balance proportion  is 41% female against 59% male.

In 2015 IIT received 96 million euros in public funding (accounting for 80% of its budget) and obtained 22 million euros in external funding (accounting for 20% of its budget). External funding comes from 18 European Projects, other 17 national and international competitive projects and approximately 60 industrial projects.

So far IIT accounts for: about 6990 publications, more than 130 European grants and 11 ERC grants, more than 350 patents or patent applications12 up start-ups and as many  which are about to be launched. The Institute’s scientific activity has been further strengthened since 2009 with the establishment of 11 research nodes throughout Italy (Torino, Milano, Trento, Parma, Roma, Pisa, Napoli, Lecce, Ferrara) and abroad (MIT and Harvard University, USA), which, along with the Genoa-based Central Lab, implement the research programs included in the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan.