DARPA has just unveiled an experimental robotic landing gear system that replaces standard landing gear with four articulated, jointed legs that are able to fold up next to the helicopter’s fuselage while in flight, and are equipped with force-sensitive contact sensors in their feet. During the landing process, each leg extends and uses its sensors to determine in real time the appropriate angle to assume to ensure that the aircraft stays level and also to minimize any risk of the rotor touching the landing area. “The equipment-mounted on an otherwise unmodified, unmanned helicopter-successfully demonstrated the ability to land and take off from terrain that would be impossible to operate from with standard landing gear,” said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager. Continue reading for a video compilation of DARPA Robotics Challenge FAILS.
“The DRC is a competition of robot systems and software teams vying to develop robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. It was designed to be extremely difficult. Participating teams, representing some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world, are collaborating and innovating on a very short timeline to develop the hardware, software, sensors, and human-machine control interfaces that will enable their robots to complete a series of challenge tasks selected by DARPA for their relevance to disaster response,” says the website.