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This quadrotor flies -- and rolls -- over just about anything

HyTAQ moves easily from land to sky and bounces back from crashes. Now a research project, it would make a sweet toy.

The cage rotates independently of the central rotor unit in this simple design.
Illinois Institute of Technology

We've seen how flying quadrotors can form spectacular displays in the sky, but what if they could roll along the ground too?

Engineers at the Illinois Institute of Technology's Robotics Lab have been developing a power-efficient machine that can move on land and air. It also happens to be extremely Crave-worthy.

HyTAQ (Hybrid Terrestrial and Aerial Quadrotor) has four rotors that allow it to fly like other quadrotors. But it also has a flexible cylindrical cage around it that acts like a wheel when it's on the ground, as well as an overall shock absorber.

The rotors and the cage use the same actuators and control system, making the HyTAQ light and efficient.

Because it can also drive on the ground, HyTAQ has a greater range than traditional quadrotors given the power it needs.

Experiments show that it can travel four times more and operate almost six times longer than an aerial-only machine, according to the lab.

As seen in the vid below, HyTAQ moves seamlessly from ground to air and back again. Since the cage is made of sturdy polycarbonate and carbon fiber, it can withstand crashing into walls and floors.

Equipped with a camera, it would make a handy reconnaissance drone or a very awesome toy to raise hell with.

Scale it up and you'd have one heck of a sweet ride.