In the last few years we have been witness to a wide array of drone designs. Now, researchers in Switzerland at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics have collaborated to create DALER, a Deployable Air-Land Exploration Robot. According to, DALER, which looks like a robotic bat, can fly by spreading its wings wide and walk by turning its wings down to function as legs.

“The robot’s design is inspired by the common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus, which can perform aerial and terrestrial locomotion with limited trade-offs,” said development team leader Ludovic Daler in an article in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics. “The wings’ adaptive morphology allows the robot to modify the shape of its body in order to increase its efficiency during terrestrial locomotion.”

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The DALER is designed for rescue missions into disaster areas, which are usually delicate and dangerous environments. DALER is designed to find victims during search and rescue missions and has the advantages of both flight and walking, a task that standard wheeled robots have not proved to be capable of. While flying, it can reach speeds of 20 meters per second. Its walking speed is quite a bit slower, however, covering ground at about six centimeters per second.

The robot can quickly and efficiently switch between flying and walking. According to, DALER can locate victims from the air and reach them by walking over rough terrain. Other potential applications include finding and surveying downed aircraft and inspecting the internals of nuclear power plants where radiation levels may surpass safe limits for humans after an accident.

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