AirBurr MAV Combines Helicopter And Airplane

Posted Oct 23, 2009 1:05 AM

I can't find much in the way of additional information on this, but it's a prototype of a micro air vehicle called AirBurr, and it comes from the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL. The version in this video is a remote controlled prototype, but the design is intended to be autonomous, with robust collision recovery in indoor environments. AirBurr is a sort of cross between a helicopter and an airplane, with a bunch of airplane style control surfaces and a horizontal plane lifting rotor like a helicopter.

As far as I can tell, the big advantage of this structure is that it allows the craft to recover from a crash by retaining a wing... Unlike a helicopter, the AirBurr looks like it can take off from the ground in just about any orientation (think post-crash) by using its integrated wing surface to generate lift. I'm just speculating, of course, but hopefully we'll get some more information in the near future.

What AirBurr reminds me of are R/C airplanes, which have a high enough power to weight ratio that they have no trouble hovering. The downdraft from the propeller moving over the ailerons provides enough force to counteract the torque:

Pretty cool, but I've never seen a full size airplane do that.

[ LIS @ EPFL ]\