DALER project shows a walking flying robot (w/ Video)

Aug 04, 2013

(Phys.org) —At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to move on the ground by using its wings only. Using the wings as whegs to move on rough terrains instead of adding an additional structure to the robot allows to minimize its structural mass.

At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to move on the ground by using its wings only. Using the wings as whegs to move on rough terrains instead of adding an additional structure to the robot allows to minimize its structural mass. Therefore, this design minimizes the total weight of the platform, and thus minimizes the impact on the of the robot. The of the robot is optimized for ground speed. It can move forward at 0.2 m/s (0.7 BL/s), and can rotate on spot at 25 deg/s. The robot is capable of walking with different gaits, it can move on different surfaces, it can overcome high obstacles, and can also navigate in rough terrains.

The robot presented in the video is the first prototype of the DALER (Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot) Project. This project aims at designing robots for applications such as exploration, search-and-rescue, or monitoring of the environment; where robots have to deal with very complex terrains, such as semi-collapsed buildings, deep caverns, or forests with a lot of vegetation. Autonomous robots are appealing for these tasks due to their ability to explore areas that are risky and inaccessible to humans. However, most existing use only one single locomotion strategy, such as rolling, walking, flying, hovering, climbing, swimming, crawling, or jumping. Using only one locomotion strategy limits their flexibility and to different environments. In a search-and-rescue scenario there is a need to fly quickly over extended areas, thereby the use of a winged robot is interesting. However, careful exploration in confined environments or near the ground is challenging for flying robots and terrestrial locomotion is more energy efficient over short distances. For these reasons, a robot capable of ground locomotion and of flying-hovering locomotion is well suited to navigate in complex environments.

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At the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems we are developing a novel flying platform which has the ability to move on the ground by using its wings only. Using the wings as whegs to move on rough terrains instead of adding an additional structure to the robot allows to minimize its structural mass. Therefore, this design minimizes the total weight of the platform, and thus minimizes the impact on the flight performance of the robot. The morphology of the robot is optimized for ground speed. It can move forward at 0.2 m/s (0.7 BL/s), and can rotate on spot at 25°/s. The robot is capable of walking with different gaits, it can move on different surfaces, it can overcome high obstacles, and can also navigate in rough terrains.

In this project we propose to use a new approach, which we call "Adaptive Morphology", where parts of the structure of a robot are shared between the different modes of locomotion, instead of simply adding a second locomotion structure to an existing robot. Moreover, the structure could self-adjust its shape to adapt to the locomotion mode and the efficiency of locomotion in each mode of can be improved through adaptive morphology suitable for that mode. We aim to make adaptive deployable wings for improving the mobility of a flying ; their shape could be adaptively modified to augment efficiency of forward flight, hover flight, and displacement on the ground. For example, wings could be fully deployed for flying outdoors and reduced for hover flight and ground modes.

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User comments : 8

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Chase_O_
5 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2013
Theres been an RC toy out for a few years called a Hydrofoam that goes on land, water, and air. Is there an advantage to walk rather than to skid?
http://www.youtub...9a_Vonww
Gmr
2 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2013
They've built a conceptual duck, or really a conceptual albatross. Decent at flying, but for crap at landing and clunking around on land, but it can do it dammit... I don't see here any demonstration of going from land-to-air - I'm guessing it can't take off again unless it climbs to the top of a very tall building...
Gmr
1 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2013
Theres been an RC toy out for a few years called a Hydrofoam that goes on land, water, and air. Is there an advantage to walk rather than to skid?
http://www.youtub...9a_Vonww

Only one I can think of off the top of my head is a potentially clogged culvert - where visibility is poor, you might have to look around a few times for a way through, and there is minimal room to turn around.
VendicarE
1 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2013
But it can't take off.
gwrede
1 / 5 (1) Aug 04, 2013
Combining the gadget in Chase-O's link with computer controlled avionics, like many quad-copters today have, would make it quite an agile platform for several kinds of missions.

While hovering in place might not be its forte, the combination of decent land, air and water performance has to be very useful for many people.

But I guess the thing in this article has its fortes, too.
nkalanaga
not rated yet Aug 05, 2013
Gmr: My first thought was a bat. They walk using their wings as forelimbs, and look just as awkward doing so.
Gmr
1 / 5 (3) Aug 06, 2013
Gmr: My first thought was a bat. They walk using their wings as forelimbs, and look just as awkward doing so.

Damn good analogy as well, as I'm not sure a bat can take off from the ground or if it has to clamber up another object and jump...
nkalanaga
1 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2013
I've never seen one on the ground, unless it was dead or injured, and they "roost" by hanging upside down from something, where they can simply drop off.. Or, at least, the common North American bats do, and that's what I was thinking of. I wouldn't be surprised if they couldn't take off from the ground.

The tropical fruit bats may be different, but I've never studied them.

On the other hand, I saw an animation once of a pterosaur taking off, and it looked even more awkward than a bat. They apparently could walk much better than a bat, and pushed themselves into the air with all four limbs. I don't think that would work too well for our common bats.