Meet CAROS, a Flying Drone That Can Climb Walls
A civil engineer is developing a drone robot that can be flown to a structure and then affixed to perform inspection and maintenance tasks.
A flying, wall-climbing drone robot? Who knew?
As reported by Phys.org, this baby can be flown to any type of structure and then affixed to the target by utilizing a perching mechanism. The idea here is since the robot can stick to surfaces – bridges, high-rise buildings, wind turbines, you name it – it can perform close inspection and maintenance of the structure.
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Such a device could be useful to inspect the structural efficacy of aging buildings and other infrastructure where the potential for collapse is a real concern. The article explains that existing mobile robots require the installation of additional equipment or use magnetic-based technology or vacuum adhesion. But it is difficult to apply those technologies to structures with diverse surface shapes and materials.
Enter Professor Hyun Myung, a civil engineer at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. He has developed the Climbing Aerial RObot System or CAROS. The device does not require installation of any additional equipment in order to be deployed. Special algorithms allow the CAROS to change to climbing mode when it approaches a surface in flight, Phys.org reports. Myung’s team also developed an autonomous navigation algorithm using sensory information to recognize 3D environments.
A chief application for the drone technology could be to assess structures during a fire disaster. So, a cousin to CAROS is being developed: FAROS, Fireproof Aerial RObot System. There have been mobile robots engineered previously to deploy a water hose to assist in extinguishing a fire, but maneuvering through narrow spaces proved to be a big disadvantage.
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FAROS could become an asset for assessing disasters since it can be manipulated through narrow indoor environments by changing its mode from wall climbing to flying. Attach a thermal camera and now it can detect and track humans via thermal imaging. Environmental information can also be transmitted wirelessly.
“As cities become more crowded with skyscrapers and super structures, fire incidents in these high-rise buildings are massive life-threatening disasters,” Myung told Phys.org. “FAROS can be aptly deployed to the disaster site at an early stage of such incidents to minimize the damage and maximize the safety and efficiency of rescue mission.”
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