There was a time when robots were only a concept, but nowadays robots are becoming a part of our lives more and more by each day. What started as a concept is now incorporated in our life to such a level, that imagining life without them is quite difficult. Robots nowadays serve a number of utility purposes for the humans, they help us in research work as well as in rescue operations and are used for gathering intel as well.
Rescue robots have always provided better efficiency while traveling in packs. Snake bots that slither like their reptilian namesakes, are good at slithering through narrow areas, but are quite slow. Whereas the Quad-copter drones are quick in the air, flying around obstacles but are unable to do much on the ground. So, the scientists at Modular Robotics Lab at the University of Pennsylvania developed a new chimera-like creation, they combined two of these snake bots with one quad-copter to make a drone-like super organism, that serves a bigger purpose and helps in difficult situations.
Together this team of robots in known by their superhero name H.E.R.A.L.D., that is Hybrid Exploration Robot for Air and Land Deployment. The drone is designed to be an alternative to stronger, heavier robots that use force to make way through the rubble. This approach of not messing with the rubble allows these drones to find people where they are without troubling themselves with the rubble and not making situation worse.
Roboticist Stella Latscha, leading the team of researchers, presented the drone at the 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, last week. At the moment these drones are just a demonstration, but in the future, these can be the new face of rescue robots, that is a hybrid robot team, venturing into the ruined buildings, saving trapped humans.