Vid Swiss researchers, who developed a robot that can walk on its wings across tricky terrain, have flaunted their latest prototype which they hope could one day be used in search and rescue operations. Or something.
The latest model from EPFL builds on the previous design of the drone, dubbed DALER (Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot), by adding an "adaptive morphology inspired by the common vampire bat".
While last year's prototype tackled how to get an aerial drone to move at ground level, the new design comes with wings that use a "foldable skeleton mechanism" to allow them to transform into legs once the robot has landed.
The team said:
It is hoped that a future application of the DALER might be to find victims in dangerous areas after a natural disaster.
The DALER can be remotely deployed to fly to an affected area, and then can walk through a disaster zone (e.g. a damaged building) to locate victims, meaning that human rescue teams can concentrate their efforts where they are needed, rather than using time to search for victims in a dangerous environment.
Future development of the DALER will include the possibility to hover and to take off autonomously from the ground in order to allow the robot to return to the air and come back to base after the mission.