A group of researchers from MIT is developing a drone that can be used for driving and for flying. A prototype of the system utilizing the flying and driving drones was released by the researchers on Monday.
The MIT researchers built the drones in the university's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Brandon Araki, an MIT graduate student, is one of those who conceptualized the driving and flying drones. In fact, he is the lead author of the paper on which the research is based on. Araki stressed that the drones being utilized today are limited. They cannot maneuver on the ground as most only launches and lands on the ground. Araki figured that by placing wheels on the drones, they become "more mobile while having a slight reduction in flying time."
A driving drone can travel through land when able and can lift off and fly when necessary which is a good way to be more efficient, as Recode reported. The shift from land to air can also help the drone prolong its battery life as driving on land takes less juice than flying.
The MIT group created a miniaturized model of a city block to see how the drone would work. The model had buildings, roads, parking spaces, landing pads, and a green space. The researchers used eight of its diving and flying drones
According to Tech Crunch, the MIT group looked at how animals particularly birds and insects switch from walking to flying whenever the need arises. They studied the actions of such animals and integrated their gathered data to their bots. The bots were designed to do what the animals did.
Flying drones are common sights nowadays while a number of companies and countries are working on developing their own flying cars. Airbus, for example, has a project called Vahana which is focused on creating on-demand flying taxis. The flying cars of the Vahana project also come with wheels but there is no news yet as to the extent of the VTOL aircraft's driving capability.