It isn’t easy to create a multi-terrain aerial robot, at least not without adding multiple propulsion features. Up until now they usually carried both wheels and wings to be able to travel in both elements, which in return would increase both weight and size, and thereby mobility and operating time.
Swiss researchers have now created a new type of vehicle that is designed for search and rescue operations, the DALER (Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot). The robot uses adaptive morphology inspired by the common vampire bat, Desmodus Rotundus, meaning that the wings have been actuated using a foldable skeleton mechanism covered with a soft fabric such that they can be used both as wings and as legs (whegs).
The researchers behind the project hope that the DALER might be able to find victims in disaster areas much quicker than with current methods. It could be deployed and sent out to an affected area where it would switch to ground mode and crawl through tight spaces like collapsed buildings to quickly find injuries people.
If successful, it could decrease the rescue time significantly simple by allowing the rescue workers to focus their energy on the area where they are needed. The current version can’t take off again by itself and return to its airbase, but that is something that is being worked on for the next prototype.
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