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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Flying Bots That Self-Assemble

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flying bot

The modules come apart when they return to the ground. Their sturdy plastic construction can withstand a fall from more than 6 feet.

Credit: IDSC

Swiss researchers are developing a swarm of single-propeller robots that are able to self-assemble and take flight. The modules for the robots feature wheels for moving along the ground, a computer, and infrared sensors for measuring the flight angle. The modules autonomously dock with each other through magnetic links, and form a robotic platform that has the appearance of a large Honeycomb cereal.

View a video of the Distributed Flight Array self-assembling and taking flight.

So far, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology's Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control (IDSC) has flown four of the modules joined together.

The researchers call the technology the Distributed Flight Array. The modules drive around, take flight, hover, and then fly to a predetermined altitude. The modules exchange information over a network, and adjust their own thrust in order to maintain level flight for the whole robotic platform.

From CNet Asia
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