Helicopters will be able to land anywhere with DARPA’s robotic landing gear
Although, helicopter and chopper pilots have been trained to perfection to fly them, landing and the takeoff still remains the trickiest part of the job. Till now, landing in rough seas and uneven terrains was almost impossible, but looks like DARPA have come up with an innovative solution to tackle the issue. The agency suggests to change the way a vehicle lands itself. Instead of using the traditional rigid landing gear, it proposes flexible legs for the helicopter which can assist in landing safely on bumpy terrains.
DARPA recently conducted an experimental demonstration of the so called adaptive robotic landing gear system. Replacing the standard landing gear, the system inspired from insects such as grasshopper uses four articulated, joined legs to land on uneven surface with ease. As the helicopter is about to land, each leg extends and using force-sensitive contact sensors adjust to an appropriate angle for proper landing. While in flight, the legs are able to fold up next to the helicopter’s fuselage.
With this ability of landing on and taking off from angled, irregular and moving surfaces, the helicopters would greatly expand their effectiveness across national security missions, natural-disaster zones, ships at sea and other complex operations. Mounted on an unmanned helicopter, DARPA successfully demonstrated its landing and taking off capabilities in a test conducted near Atlanta. Helicopters equipped with the adaptive robotic landing gear will be able to land on sloping terrain of up to 20 degrees.
Developed with funding from DARPA’s Mission Adaptive Rotor (MAR) program, the robotic landing gear system is now undergoing continued development by the Georgia Institute of Technology.