Flying robots are adept aviators, flipping through small openings, building structures and playing tennis. But what goes up must come down, and sometimes it’s not exactly as planned. A new flying robot can survive a crash, picking itself back up and taking flight again.
Humanoid robots and gadget-y autonomous machines can perform lots of tasks pretty admirably. But when you have a specific need, you need a specifically-equipped robot — which can mean making modifications to existing robot archetypes, or building a specialized ‘bot designed for a sole purpose. Welcome to the age of zoobotics, in which robots are inspired not by people, or restrained by technology like in the early days of robotics. Instead, zoobotics is animal-inspired.
Not sure whether to use a cylindrical crawler or a buzzing helicopter for your remote sensing needs? This robot makes the choice easier, incorporating both abilities. In the video below, you can watch as it rolls along, then tips up vertically to take off like a helicopter.
This cute hand-built quadcopter might not be able to play tennis, but it's not CrazyFlie's fault — it's much to small to bounce anything around. The copter is basically a flying printed circuit board and not much else.
In a recent test of autonomous in-flight refueling, two unmanned aircraft flew within 40 feet of each other at an altitude of 45,000 feet, an aviation record. A Northrop Grumman Proteus test aircraft crept up on a NASA Global Hawk, testing wake turbulence and engine performance in the stratosphere. The test is a step toward teams of drones flying in formation, for refueling or other purposes.