At the office, when we see experiments in hybrid design like this we always title the email thread "Unicorn or Spork?" (brilliant innovation or the worst-of-both-worlds). Not sure which of those this walking flying wing from EPFL falls into, but you have to admire the mechanicals, at least.
The Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot (DALER) uses its own wings to crawl and roll over a variety of terrains. Using a self-adjusting structure to transform its wings into rotating arms, the robot is able to flip, rotate and navigate its way around and over obstacles on the ground. Sharing the wings across different modes of locomotion reduces the amount of infrastructure and weight the robot must carry, thus improving flight performance. The ability to adapt to a variety of environments is important in search and rescue operations, where both air and ground searching may be required.
The DALER is currently optimized for ground speed. The prototype shown in the video above can move forward at 0.2 m/s (0.7 BL/s), can rotate on spot at 25°/s, and is capable of walking with different gaits. Future iterations of the robot will focus on increasing the adaptability of the wings to improve forward flight, hover flight and displacement on the ground. For example, wings could be fully deployed for flying outdoors and reduced for hover flight and ground modes.
The DALER was developed at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, where researchers investigate bio-inspired artificial intelligence, develop autonomous robotic systems, and address biological questions using computational and robotic models.