This paper focuses on designing, kinematically and dynamically characterizing a novel deformable quad-rotor that is based on the scissor-like foldable mechanisms. Inspired by morphological adaptation of birds during flight, the quad-rotor allows that its volume can be varied to dynamically adapt complex environments and spaces. The advantages of such mechanism are twofold following the scenario, that is, the quad-rotor can stably fly with a big volume/size and can also switch to a smaller volume for a swift flight in response to the changes of the environments and spaces. It therefore is capable of efficiently avoiding obstacles, stably passing through narrow spaces, and resisting certain-extent wind effects. To generate the controllable deformation, the actuated angulated scissor elements in the structure play an important role. In this paper, the scissor element design, its actuation mechanism, and volume deformation of the new quad-rotor are presented in detail. Simulations and experiments are then conducted to validate the controlled deformation as well as to investigate the deformation elicited effects to the activated quad-rotor airframe and its aerodynamics. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed deformable quad-rotor, and prove that it enables excellent volume deformation performance, good flight adaptation, as well as minimal aerodynamics influences during deforming.

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