A driving/flying robot: the world’s first experimental robot drone

An image to illustrate the new driving/flying robot, a robot drone
The first experimental robot drone that flies like a typical quadcopter, drives on tough terrain and squeezes into tight spaces using the same motors, has been developed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers. The hybrid FSTAR (flying sprawl-tuned autonomous robot) will be introduced at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2019 in Montreal on May 21, 2019. © BEN-GURION U.

The first experimental robot drone is a driving/flying robot that moves like a typical quadcopter.

The robot drone has been developed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and is named the Flying STAR.

The Flying STAR

The Flying STAR can fly over obstacles and run underneath them. The robot is able to transform its movement from a flying quadcopter to a car-like robot by adjusting its sprawl from a flat configuration to 55 degrees. This allows the robot drone to climb over obstacles and up closely-space walls, as well as squeeze through narrow spaces such as tunnels and pipes.

The first video of the Flying STAR robot has been released and you can watch it below.

Possible commercial uses for a robot drone

The driving/flying robot could be used for:

  • Package deliveries, because it can quickly fly to a target zone and drive safely and quietly to the recipient’s doorstep;
  • Search and rescue, because it can fly over obstacles and crawl into spaces where a regular drone cannot fly, such as between cracks; and
  • More generally as agricultural robots and in maintenance, cleaning, filming, law enforcement, and anti-terrorist applications.

Developing the flying robot for different applications

Prof. David Zarrouk, senior lecturer in BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, commented: “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.”

The robot drone will be introduced at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2019 in Montreal on May 21. It was developed in the BGU Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab by Prof. David Zarrouk, senior lecturer in BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and head of the Bio-Inspired and Medical Robotics Lab and his graduate student, Nir Meiri.

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