Bat Robot Offers Safety and Maneuverability in Bioinspired Design


A beautifully designed robot bat will be capable of robust acrobatics that quadrotors can’t match

Image: Science Robotics

With a few exceptions, quadrotors are the go-to aerial robot when you need something small, fast, and maneuverable. This is because quadrotors are relatively cheap and easy to fly, and not because they’re the best aerial platform. In fact, you may have noticed that there aren’t a lot of rotary fliers in the animal kingdom—this is because (among other reasons) flapping wings offer high efficiency and incredible maneuverability as long as you’re able to manufacture and control them.

Those last two things are what make wings tricky for robots, which is why we don’t see nearly as many useful robot birds as we do useful quadrotors. Alireza Ramezani, Soon-Jo Chung, and Seth Hutchinson from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Caltech have decided that making robot birds is just not tricky enough, so they’re working on something even better and even more complex: a robotic bat.

We’ve been keeping track of Bat Bot (B2) for the past few years; the researchers presented a paper on the robot at ICRA 2016 last year in Stockholm. Now B2 has made it onto the cover of the current issue of Science Robotics, and that’s cool enough for us to publish an update. Here’s the video:


About Author

Leave A Reply