Hybrid quadrotor seamlessly travels by land or sea

first_imgThe folks over at the Illinois Institute of Technology Robotics Lab have developed a quadcopter, the HyTAQ (Hybrid Terrestrial and Aerial Quadrotor), that can seamlessly travel by land or sea, smoothly transitioning from one to the other. Designed by Arash Kalantari and Matthew Spenko, the HyTAQ is surrounded in a cage that not only makes the quadrocopter crash resistant, but allows it to roll along the ground. The HyTAQ flies by using its four actuators, which give the unit enough thrust to lift itself and the cage off the ground.With the help of the rolling cage, the quadrocopter uses the same flight actuators and control system to achieve its land locomotion, giving the unit a lighter weight than if it required two different travel mechanisms and control systems, and thus, more maneuverability.A common problem among quadrocopters is that though they’re highly maneuverable, they have a short operating time due to energy constraints. While in land mode, the HyTAQ’s biggest issue is overcoming rolling resistance, but even then, the unit consumes much less energy than when in aerial mode. This somewhat alleviates that energy shortcoming.Due to the energy savings, the HyTAQ can travel distances of up to four times greater and can operate for six times longer than a quadrotor that doesn’t have land capabilities. When strictly flying, its battery only lasts for five minutes and around 1,969 feet of flight travel. However, the battery lasts for 27 minutes and a distance of 7,874 feet when traveling by land.Though the HyTAQ’s land capabilities greatly increase the unit’s operating time by saving power for flight, the aerial travel gives the ground travel a boost as well. One of the biggest issues with land travel is overcoming physical obstacles. Thanks to the unit’s air travel, if its path is blocked on the ground, it can simply fly over the obstacle, then continue along in ground mode, saving energy.The team has already begun the patent process, so hopefully they can bring the HyTAQ to a commercial market after the process is complete.via IITlast_img

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