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ACM TechNews

Aerial Robot Can Morph in Flight

The Quad-Morphing robot.

A new aerial robot can change its profile during flight.

Credit: Valentin Rivire and Stphane Viollet, tienne Jules Marey Institute of Movement Sciences

Researchers from the Étienne Jules Marey Institute of Movement Sciences, a joint research unit of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille Université, have designed an aerial robot that can change its profile during flight.

Called Quad-Morphing, the first-of-its kind robot can reorient its arms to shrink its wingspan and navigate through narrow spaces without intensive steering that would consume too much energy and require a robotic platform featuring a low-inertia robot.

The new robot has two rotating arms, each of which has two propellers for helicopter-like flight. Elastic and rigid wires enable the robot to reorient its arms in flight so they are either perpendicular or parallel to its central axis.

The Quad-Morphing autopilot mechanism activates arm reorientation when a three-dimensional localization system detects the robot is nearing a tight passage.

The research could enable the development of large robots that can move through narrow passages for exploration, as well as for search and rescue missions.

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