DARPA demo shows how helicopters could land on uneven surfaces

Future helicopters could land on a range of irregular or uneven surfaces thanks to DARPA-funded research conducted at Georgia Institute of Technology.

As this week’s video shows, the adaptable robotic landing gear is made up of four articulated, jointed automated legs that bend and fold next to the helicopter’s fuselage while in flight.

According to DARPA, each leg has an integrated force-sensitive contact sensor in its foot. During landing, each leg extends and uses the sensor to determine the appropriate angle to assume to keep the helicopter level and the rotor blades away from the ground.

Robotic Landing Gear is being developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology with funding originally from DARPA’s Mission Adaptive Rotor (MAR) program, which concluded in 2014.