This paper presents the design, modeling, and experimental validation of CapsuleBot, a compact hybrid aerial-ground vehicle designed for long-term covert reconnaissance. CapsuleBot combines the manoeuvrability of bicopter in the air with the energy efficiency and noise reduction of ground vehicles on the ground. To accomplish this, a structure named actuated-wheel-rotor has been designed, utilizing a sole motor for both the unilateral rotor tilting in the bicopter configuration and the wheel movement in ground mode. CapsuleBot comes equipped with two of these structures, enabling it to attain hybrid aerial-ground propulsion with just four motors. Importantly, the decoupling of motion modes is achieved without the need for additional drivers, enhancing the versatility and robustness of the system. Furthermore, we have designed the full dynamics and control for aerial and ground locomotion based on the bicopter model and the two-wheeled self-balancing vehicle model. The performance of CapsuleBot has been validated through experiments. The results demonstrate that CapsuleBot produces 40.53% less noise in ground mode and consumes 99.35% less energy, highlighting its potential for long-term covert reconnaissance applications.
We present the dynamic model and control of DoubleBee, a novel hybrid aerial-ground vehicle consisting of two propellers mounted on tilting servo motors and two motor-driven wheels. DoubleBee exploits the high energy efficiency of a bicopter configuration in aerial mode, and enjoys the low power consumption of a two-wheel self-balancing robot on the ground. Furthermore, the propeller thrusts act as additional control inputs on the ground, enabling a novel decoupled control scheme where the attitude of the robot is controlled using thrusts and the translational motion is realized using wheels. A prototype of DoubleBee is constructed using commercially available components. The power efficiency and the control performance of the robot are verified through comprehensive experiments. Challenging tasks in indoor and outdoor environments demonstrate the capability of DoubleBee to traverse unstructured environments, fly over and move under barriers, and climb steep and rough terrains.