robot drive drone

Experimental robot can fly like a drone, drive like a car

Image credit: ben guron

A prototype robot drone has been demonstrated that can fly like a quadcopter whilst also being capable of driving on tough terrain and squeezing into tight spaces using the same motors.

Developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), the hybrid FSTAR (Flying Sprawl-Tuned Autonomous Robot) has been designed to fly over obstacles or run underneath them.

It can adjust from a flat configuration to 55 degrees, allowing the robot to transform its movement from a flying quadcopter to a car-like robot.

It also adjusts its width to crawl or run on flat surfaces, climb over large obstacles and up closely spaced walls, or squeeze through a tunnel, pipe or narrow gap.

It can run on the ground at a speed of up to 2.6m/s. That, combined with low energy consumption using the same motors, could make FSTAR ideal for a broad range of applications that may require longer work time.

Possible commercial uses are package deliveries, since it can quickly fly to a target zone and then drive using its wheels safely and quietly to reach the recipient’s doorstep.

FSTAR could also be used for search and rescue applications, as it can fly over various obstacles and crawl between or underneath cracks where a regular drone cannot fly. The robot can also be used in agriculture, maintenance, cleaning, filming and entertainment, as well as law enforcement and anti-terrorist applications.

“We plan to develop larger and smaller versions to expand this family of sprawling robots for different applications, as well as algorithms that will help exploit speed and cost of transport for these flying/driving robots,” researcher Dr David Zarrouk said.


Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles