We’ve seen plenty of remote-controlled toy robots over the years. We’ve seen remote-controlled devices that can fly such as the AR Drone and remote-controlled devices that roll around on the ground as well. What I don’t recall seeing is a remote-controlled device that combines both ground and air capability into one device.
This cool little toy is called the Hybrid Terrestrial and Aerial Quadrotor (HyTAQ) and was designed by Arash Kalantari and Matthew Spenko. Both of the designers hail from the robotics laboratory at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The device looks a lot like your typical four rotor flying helicopter toy inside a cage to help prevent you from breaking it when you smack into the wall.
Rather than that cage being for the protection of the rotors alone, it actually acts as a large wheel that allows the remote control device to roll around on the ground. The cage is made from a combination of polycarbonate and carbon fiber and has a long axle that is attached to the sides of the quadrotor flying machine. While the primary purpose of the cage is to allow ground mobility, it does actually protect the rotors.
You can see the device in action in the video below. It appears that the same controls that control flight for the little machine also control movement on the ground. The robotic machine can transition from ground operation to flight impressively quick and appears to be controlled like any other quadrotor we’ve seen before. The HyTAQ is capable of operating on just about any surface.