To demonstrate proof‐of‐concept of the Griffon man‐portable hybrid unmanned ground vehicle/unmanned aerial vehicle (UGV/UAV) based on the iRobot PackBot we developed the Griffon air mobility system consisting of a gasoline‐powered propeller engine, a steerable parafoil, and a radio‐controlled servo system. We integrated the AMS with a PackBot prototype, and we conducted ground and flight tests to validate this concept. The Griffon prototype was capable of remote‐controlled flight, take‐off, and landing. The Griffon achieved speeds of over 20 mph and altitudes of up to 200 feet. We demonstrated the feasibility of developing a man‐portable hybrid UGV/UAV. Future work may explore the possibilities for teleoperated, semi‐autonomous, and fully autonomous control using the Griffon concept. The parafoil wing limits the usability of this vehicle in windy conditions, but this could be addressed using a lightweight fixed wing instead. Man‐portable hybrid UGV/UAVs may be used by the military to perform reconnaissance and strike missions in urban environments, and by civilian teams to conduct search‐and‐rescue operations in hazardous terrain. This research provides the first demonstration of a man‐portable unmanned vehicle capable of both flight and ground locomotion, and it does so using a combat‐tested UGV platform.
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