Drone can transform into a tiny car to slide under small gaps

New Scientist | May 22, 2019

A shape-shifting drone can transform into a car once it touches down. The drone, called FSTAR, can move through a variety of surfaces and environments, making it a potentially helpful tool in search and rescue missions. FSTAR has a wheel and a propeller on each of its four legs. The prototype is about 35 centimeters long and 25 centimeters wide. During operation, a human pilot uses a controller to drive FSTAR and change its configurations. When FSTAR is flying as a quadcopter, its four legs are in the same plane as its body, parallel to the ground.
When it lands and receives the commend to turn into a car, a motor on FSTAR’s body pulls its legs from horizontal to vertical so that its wheels touch the ground. However, instead of being perpendicular to the ground like those of a regular car, FSTAR’s wheels are slanted, similar to the sprawling legs of a spider. Tilted wheels work better than vertical wheels, says David Zarrouk at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, one of the drone’s creators.

Spotlight

From microscopic electronic devices tosuper structures like dams, bridges andtowers, engineering has a vast scope that touches every area of our lives.

Spotlight

From microscopic electronic devices tosuper structures like dams, bridges andtowers, engineering has a vast scope that touches every area of our lives.

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