Researchers from the University of Zurich and EPFL have created a robot that shrinks to fit the spaces, and this makes itideal for search and rescue. Initially, the researchers created a drone that could assess man-made spaces and squeeze in seconds usingonly one camera. This additional feature a scissor-like system for reducing a UAV in flight makes it even more versatile and allowsthese drones to respond to larger or smaller gaps in nature.
The idea arose after we worked on the flight of the quadrotor through narrow gaps,” said Ph.D. candidate Davide Phalanga. “The purpose of our laboratory is to develop drones that can be used in the future after a catastrophe, for example, in an earthquake, to enter a building through small cracks or holes in a destroyed building to find survivors. Our previous approach required a very aggressive maneuver, so we looked for alternative solutions to accomplish the task of passing a very narrow gap without having to fly at high speed. The solution we came up with is a folding drone, a Quadro, which can change its shape to adapt to the task. ”
The system measures the gap and changes its shape without external processing, which is a very interesting feat. All processing is performed on board, and if necessary,
it can be turned into an autonomous system. The team created the drone with finished parts and 3D printed parts.
“The main difference between conventional drones and our folding drones is how the arms are connected to the body: each hand is connected using a servomotor, which can change the relative position between the main body and the hand. This allows the robot to literally fold arms around the body, which means that any morphology can potentially be obtained. The adaptive controller is aware of the UAV’s morphology and adapts to it to ensure a stable flight at any time, regardless of configuration, ”said Falanga
The team published a report on their findings in letters of robotics and automation. As IEEE notes, this is not a flying dragon, but it is a much simpler, more cool and effective product.