Agile robotic fliers: a morphing based approach

  • Riviere Valentin
  • Manecy Augustin
  • Viollet Stéphane


The aerial robot presented here for the first time was based on a quadrotor structure, which is capable of unique morphing performances based on an actuated elastic mechanism. Like birds, which are able to negotiate narrow apertures despite their relatively large wingspan, our Quad-Morphing robot was able to pass through a narrow gap at a high forward speed of 2.5 m.s− 1 by swiftly folding up the structure supporting its propellers. A control strategy was developed to deal with the loss of controllability on the roll axis resulting from the folding process, while keeping the robot stable until it has crossed the gap. In addition, a complete recovery procedure was also implemented to stabilize the robot after the unfolding process. A new metric was also used to quantify the gain in terms of the gap-crossing ability in comparison with that observed with classical quadrotors with rigid bodies. The performances of these morphing robots are presented, and experiments performed with a real flying robot passing through a small aperture by reducing its wingspan by 48% are described and discussed.