Mad Scientists in Switzerland Built a Drone That Flies and Walks

By Adam Clark Estes on at

Meet DALER. That's short for Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot, and it's designed for rescuing victims in dangerous places after a natural disaster. How does a robot do that? Well, it requires flying into a dangerous place, and then walking around that dangerous place. DALER does both.

DALER was built by a team of scientists at the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics division in Switzerland who were inspired by locomotion techniques in the common vampire bat. Those furry little blood-sucking critters use the tips of their wings to sort of vault forward, not unlike what their dinosaur ancestors did. DALER takes a similar tack with triangular wingerons that rotate when it's on the ground, pushing the bio-inspired robot forward. In the air, the wingerons help DALER maneuver.

The really cool aspect of DALER's versatility lives in the wings themselves. Because the drone needs a wide wingspan to fly well and a narrow profile to walk well, the scientists designed DALER to have wings that retract thanks to a simple motor and a flexible skin. And it looks wonderfully creepy at all times—also like a bat. Which will definitely be in their advantage when they rise up and hunt us all down. [Robothub]

Image via NCCR Robotics