Israeli researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind robot drone capable of driving, flying and crawling quickly, Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU) reported on Monday.
The robot, called the Flying Star, was developed by the Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab at the BGU.
The combination of flight and car-like driving, by controlling the angle of the motors’ hinges, allows the robot to take advantages of both modes.
Thus, the robot moves from a 55-degree configuration to a full sprawl mode, allowing it to cross distances and obstacles in various ways that cannot be crossed only by flying or driving.
The robot also adjusts its width to crawl or run across surfaces, climb large obstacles and crawl into a tunnel or narrow openings.
The researchers said that the uniqueness of the Flying Star is that it is driven on the ground with the same motors that run its propellers, giving it a ground travel speed of up to 2.6 meters per second and a very high push capability.
Combined with low energy consumption by the usage of the same motors, the robot is suitable for a variety of purposes, such as the delivery service.
It can quickly fly to a target zone and then drive by using its wheels safely and quietly to reach the recipient’s doorstep.
In search and rescue missions, the robot can fly over debris and penetrate small openings in search of survivors, where an ordinary unmanned aerial vehicles can’t reach.
The robot may also be used in agriculture, maintenance, cleaning, filming, entertainment, law enforcement and anti-terrorism.
The researchers plan to develop the robot in various sizes, from tens of centimeters to meters, to suit for different applications.
Another version of the robot will be equipped with a GPS system, allowing it to travel to destinations by pre-programmed commands.