DALER is a flying wing that swoops like a bat in the sky, and wobbles forward like a bat on the ground. Created by Ludovic Daler, the Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot has flexible wings that contract, angling the body so that special wing tips, which spin forward, can allow the DALER to crawl one awkward, creepy step at a time.
Watch it move, starting at around 0:40:
The DALER is a fairly typical flying wing aircraft. It’s DALER’s ability to crawl that makes it unique.
According to the authors, who include Daler and a team from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research, the wing is inspired by Desmodus rotundus, or the common vampire bat. Scrunching its body together (“scrunching”, of course, is the technical term) makes the DALER a more efficient walker than it would be otherwise.
The researchers think DALER could be adapted to rescue roles, where it can fly into disaster zones and then crawl around searching for survivors. People who, after finding themselves trapped by an earthquake or other disaster, will no doubt be super excited to see a bat robot come to save them. After all, at least a bat bot isn’t slithering robot-snakes.