As the story goes, when farmers were looking for a better way to deliver tomatos undamaged, they just engineered a more resilient vegetable. And that's basically the same approach being taken by crash-friendly flying robot researchers at the EPFL.
Instead of focusing their efforts on obstacle and collision avoidance systems that can weigh a robot down with cameras and sensors, they've designed a flying bot that isn't immediately destroyed in a crash. Even birds still fly into things, and most of the time they just pick themselves up and carry on. And that's exactly what this robot is designed to do. In the event of a collision, a thin carbon fibre outer cage protects its rotors, as well as a set of four retractable legs that the robot uses to right itself after a crash.
The goal of the research is to create a flying robot with minimal electronics that's resilient and cheaper to repair when they eventually crash, as unmanned flying aircraft tend to do. [YouTube via Popular Science]