As they say, there’s a lot we can learn from nature. The robotics industry believes so too as we steadily begin to see experts come up with motorized machines that draw inspiration from biology. Although it is currently presented on a smaller scale, the Multi-Modal Mobility Morphobot (M4 for short) showcases advanced versatility.

Just like how the world’s fauna adapts to their environment and reacts to specific situations in their own way, a team from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) came up with this highly adaptable proof of concept. Given its electronic and mechanical components, you can say the M4 is a real-life Transformer.

Interestingly, this robot reminds us of cool proposals from the likes of Hyundai’s Elevate and Arrival’s Estuary Hopper. However, unlike these two, the M4 has the capability of flight. We’re certain there will be challenges as they scale this project up, but it’s likely all possible outcomes have been taken into account already.

In its default configuration, the M4 looks like an R/C car with huge wheels. Instead of articulated steering methods, videos of the M4 in action show that the wheels rotate at varying speeds to make turns. Moreover, these likewise double as rotors with propellers in quadcopter mode.

Basically, there is nothing it can’t handle as Caltech demonstrates the various scenarios and how the M4 can overcome the obstacles in its path. These range from inclines, uneven terrain, bodies of water, and more. Its development is handled by the Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies (CAST). Among the creatures that served as muses are sea lions and chukar birds,

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Images courtesy of California Institute of Technology