When an obstacle is in its way, the flying sprawl-tuned autonomous robot (FSTAR) can either fly over it or crawl beneath it. Developed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, the drone can fly, drive on rough terrain, and fit into narrow spaces—all with the same motors.
The ability to change from a flat configuration to 55 degrees, known as sprawling, allows for FSTAR to change from a flying design to a car-like machine. “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 gaps,” according to BGU.
When it’s on the ground, it travels at 8 ft/s (2.6 m/s).
“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, Professor Dr. Zarrouk, senior lecturer in BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, says.
The team sees this type of drone helping with package deliveries, search and rescue missions, agriculture applications, law enforcement, maintenance, and entertainment.
The robot drone will be presented at Montreal’s International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2019.
Check out FSTAR’s moves in the video below.