Back in December, we showed you a bunch of concepts from DARPA's crowdsourced UAVForge competition. The teams involved have just submitted their proof-of-flight videos, and while there are a bunch of quadrotors and hexacopters that won't surprise you, there are at least a few designs that will.
After the first round of voting (on just these proof-of-flight videos), the robot in the lead is the GremLion UAV from the National University of Singapore. This is awesome, 'cause the GremLion is one of the most unique designs in the entire competition. In its final form, it'll be like a little Death Star on wheels that can open up and deploy a coaxial set of rotors to fly around. Here's the proof-of-flight vid:
I dunno who that narrator is, but I want him reading my eulogy.
Another unique design is the X-MAUS, a quadrotor that unfolds itself after takeoff to turn into a more efficient airplane:
One of my personal favorites is the QuadShot from TU Delft, but it's definitely not because their "optimized" design is going to look almost exactly like a B-Wing from Star Wars:
The next stage of all this is the live demos, which will all be posted online between February 24th and March 1. After that, the top 10 teams will compete against each other in a life fly-off sometime in the spring. Until then, you'll have to content yourself with looking over the rest of the UAVForge entries at the needlessly complicated website below.