Tuesday 3 February 2015

Bat-Inspired Robot Can Walk, Fly and Chase You

A team of researchers has successfully developed a robot drone which can both fly and crawl for the first time. This innovation gives boost the capabilities of drones which were to some extent in earlier cases. Researchers have provided with retractable wings, legs and wheels which allow the robot to handle any kind of terrains with ease. This feat has been achieved by the researchers of Switzerland essentially for providing assistance in rescue and search operations but given the capabilities this bat-like robot might evolve into something much better.

Technology Used In Creating Bat-like Features

This new vampire bat like robot uses the adaptive morphology in the form of Desmodus rotundus. In simple words this robot has a foldable skeleton under its fabric-covered wings almost like a bat literally. This robot has been named DALER (Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot) which has been designed by a team of researchers at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and The National Centre for Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics in Switerzerland, who had announced their work in the journal Bioinspiration & Biometrics.

Features and Capabilities Of DALER

This robot is capable of flying long distances in order to survey large spaces within a short time span and it can also easily access the dangerous, remote and inaccessible areas. It has been found that most of the flying robots suffers from the issue of navigating the small areas but DALER capability of crawling makes it easier to access and survey such places with distinction.

Researchers had a hard time to achieve the limited trade-offs which can provide them with an solution for the perfect synchronization between the center of mass of the drone and the axis of rotation for improving the fuel efficiency. After lots of experimentation researchers found the optimum balance of masses which allows the DALER to reach to great speed of 70 km/h while flying and around 6 cm/s on ground surface. It can achieve the maximum step distance of about 6 cm.

Benefits Of DALER

The research team has pointed out various benefits which could be derived from the DALER. It capability as a walking and flying drone will provide great assistance in helping to locate the survivors in dangerous terrains or unstable areas in an event of natural or man-made disaster. Furthermore DALER could even be remotely deployed in affected areas to access the damaged building or destroyed infrastructure with its flying capability. It can land in such place to begin locating the victims by crawling on the surface. This would be highly beneficial for the rescue teams to improve their efforts in various different scenarios.

Researchers had also claimed to bring in hover capabilities to this drone through future developments which it give it ability to take off autonomously from the ground after completion of the mission as well returning to the base automatically. DALER is still in the prototype stage and researchers had made no announcement regarding its future commercial development.

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