A UAV equipped with an arm!

Dec 12, 2012 7 Comments by

DARPA just announced that they’ve successfully flown a UAV that’s equipped with a functioning robotic “arm”! In its stock configuration, the MLB V-Bat can take off, fly horizontally and then hover, tail-down, at its destination. Now equipped with the “arm,” it can move objects while hovering!

Here’s the scoop from Gizmag‘s Ben Coxworth: “The DARPA team added a folding robotic arm to the UAV, along with an inexpensive stereoscopic computer vision system – this incorporated one camera on the end of the arm, and another on the aircraft itself. For the test, a 1-pound (454-gram) payload was attached to a hook on the end of the arm. Using its vision and GPS systems, the V-Bat then autonomously identified a step ladder, which was the object on which it had to place its payload. It proceeded to maneuver itself up alongside the ladder, extended its arm by six feet (1.8 meters), and placed the payload on the ladder. ‘Our goal with the UAV payload emplacement demonstration was to show we could quickly develop and integrate the right technology to make this work,’ said DARPA program manager Dan Pratt. ‘The success of the demonstration further enables the capabilities of future autonomous aerial vehicles.’ ”

Debra Cleghorn, Editors Blogs, Featured News

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Model Airplane News Executive editor. About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

7 Responses to “A UAV equipped with an arm!”

  1. John Carter says:

    When the arm pushes something, there’d naturally be a reaction in the opposite direction. I assume the control system compensates for this.

    I’d like to see two of these duelling.

  2. Fred Lawshe says:


  3. charles sylvia says:

    That’s great! What is it’s planned task?

  4. Sailr says:

    Does it actually fly to a destination or just hover all the way? Not very stealthy!

  5. Gord Seifert says:

    I would like to see it in horizontal flight. I can not imagine how it could hold that long nose up. It looks like it would be terminally nose heavy. And at it’s current stage of development it certainly could not be used to serve drinks in a bar. The drink would be all over the patron and the patron would likely have a bloody nose as well! I was expecting a nice slow and careful extension of the arm not a punch. :-)

  6. dingo says:

    This reminds me of Mr Handy from Fallout….is this about to happen IRL?

  7. bob guy says:

    the arm broke

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