Manufacturing Minute: DARPA's Robotic Landing Gear

In this episode, DARPA's solution for landing helicopters on uneven terrain.

The Defense Advanced Research Institute, or DARPA, now has a solution for landing helicopters on choppy water and uneven terrain. The Mission Adaptive Rotor program has unveiled adaptive robotic landing gear. Instead of regular skids, the robotic landing gear consists of four articulated legs, shaped like giant steel insect legs that can fold and adapt to uneven surfaces.

While helicopters can already land in many places other aircraft can’t, there are still a lot of spots where landing is tricky or next to impossible because of the terrain.

The system worked successfully in a recent flight demonstration, which touched down with two feet on an elevated piece of wood and two feet firmly on the grass, but engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology will continue working on the technology. Besides safer takeoffs and landings, the gear is expected to reduce the damages from a hard landing by as much as 80 percent.


Do you think the landing gear will change the way we think about aircraft design? Do think the technology coming from DARPA is beneficial?

Email us or leave your comments below.

Tune in every weekday for your next Manufacturing Minute.