Leonardo, the robot developed by the California Institute of technology combines the use of legs and thrusters like those of drones. It can walk on two legs and fly at the same time. This opens up new possibilities for robot movements. Leonardo is a bipedal robot, and such robots are generally capable of navigating complicated real-world terrains by imitating human actions such as jumping, running, and even climbing stairs, although they are limited by rough terrain. Flying robots can easily navigate difficult terrain by avoiding contact with the ground, but they have their own set of constraints, including high energy consumption during flight and restricted payload capacity. Robots having multimodal locomotion capabilities can travel through difficult environments more effectively than traditional robots by appropriately switching between their different modes of movement.
The researchers obtain the best of both worlds in terms of locomotion by using a hybrid action that is halfway between walking and flying. LEO’s lightweight legs relieve stress on its thrusters by bearing the majority of the weight, but because the thrusters are regulated synchronously with leg joints, LEO maintains an amazing balance.