We have, so far, gotten used to the idea of drones. More and more we see them dispatched here and there, either for fun or with more serious reasons. However, we are all used to seeing drones fly and maybe capture videos, from the height. The DALER drone comes with something new. Inspired by the vampire bat, this new type of drone can both fly and walk, a skill which would be most useful during search and rescue missions.
The DALER (Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot) was inspired by the way the vampire bat moves. It uses the tips of its wings like legs while being on the ground. Similarly, the drone has wings that can be used both for flight and like legs. The team studied and tried to emulate the behavior of vampire bats. To do so, they created wings covered in soft fabric. The wing is able to fold into a smaller space when the drone is on the ground. It also rotates around a hinge that attaches the legs to the body of the drone.
“The robot consists of a flying wing with adaptive morphology that can perform both long distance flight and walking in cluttered environments for local exploration,” explained Ludovic Daler, lead researcher and Ph.D student at EPFL. “The robotʼs design is inspired by the common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus, which can perform aerial and terrestrial locomotion with limited trade-offs.”
The team believes that a versatile drone able to both walk and fly would be vital in finding survivors in dangerous or unstable areas. DALER could be deployed remotely to that area. Upon reaching the damaged infrastructure, it would land and start searching for the victims. In time, the team hopes to add hover capabilities to the drone. They also wish to make it able to take off automatically after finishing a mission.
What do you think of DALER?