Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle: It Flies, It Crawls

The Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle is a "hybrid" air and land vehicle designed to serve as a remote sensor platform. The intent is that the MMALV could fly into hazardous or hostile environments, and then land and walk around to gather intelligence.


(Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle youtube video)

The Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle is constructed of a carbon fiber airframe with flexible fabric wings (they can be folded back, like those of an insect). The MMALV uses the Whegs terrestrial locomotion technology developed at Case Western Reserve University.

Current MMALVs have a wingspan of about one foot; these capabilities are to be added:

  • Wing folding to allow the vehicle to be more compact and maneuverable on the ground and during idle transport
  • Improved Whegs™ integration
  • Installation of an autopilot for semi and fully autonomous operations
The MMALV can climb to the top of a two story structure and then launch itself back into the air.


(the Morphing Micro Air-Land Vehicle crawls on)

The MMALV is an incredibly close match to the infamous Scarab flying insect robot described by Raymond Z. Gallun in his prescient 1936 classic The Scarab. Watch the video first, and then read this description:

...satisfied that it was in condition, it unfolded the coleoptera-like plates over its wings. With a buzz that any uninformed person would have mistaken for that of a beetle, it started out on its journey.

...It landed close to the stone walls of the structure.

About it, as it scrambled forward, were weeds and bushes and grass, which, from its miniature point of view, constituted a thick and threatening jungle...
(Read more about Raymond Z. Gallun's scarab)

Via the Biologically Inspired Robotics Laboratory and Wired.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/17/2007)

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