Meeting Abstract

72.5  Saturday, Jan. 5  Hybrid aerial and terrestrial robots and their implications for avian flight evolution PETERSON, K.*; DUDLEY, R.; FEARING, R.S.; Univ. of California, Berkeley; Univ. of California, Berkeley; Univ. of California, Berkeley

DASH+Wings and BOLT are small hybrid legged and winged robots capable of both aerial and terrestrial locomotion. Investigation of the effects of the robots’ wings on both their aerial and terrestrial locomotion allows the direct evaluation of the consequences of wing flapping for locomotor performance. By contrast, current support for the diverse theories of avian flight origins derive from limited fossil evidence, the adult behavior of extant flying birds, and developmental stages of already volant taxa. DASH+Wings originally derives from a hexapedal running robot, and allows the consequences of adding wings to a cursorial locomotor to be examined. Experimental controls for the effects of flapping wings are provided by the use of inertial spars and passive airfoils. The addition of flapping wings increased the maximum horizontal running speed from 0.68 m/s to 1.28 m/s along with increasing the maximum incline angle of ascent from 5.6 degrees to 16.9 degrees. Free measurements also show a decrease of 10.3 degrees in equilibrium glide slope between the flapping wings and passive airfoils. In contrast with DASH+Wings, BOLT is a bipedal robot designed with a focus on flight performance. To better examine avian flight evolution, we modify the original design to more closely resemble avian precursors. The design of BOLT also enables the evaluation of the effects of wing amplitude, flapping frequency, and wing area on both aerial and terrestrial performance. Computer models elucidate the effect of interactions between periodic leg and wing forces during high speed wing-assisted running. We discuss our findings in the context of existing hypotheses for the origins of flapping flight in vertebrates.