Innovative Drone Takes Its Inspiration from Mother Nature

Drones are here to stay. Airspace will see more of them for sure.  This is so despite doubts and fears raised by non-drone followers.

Innovation is the key to consumer drones’ staying power. The latest in the scene is an innovative drone that takes its inspiration from Mother Nature.

An article by Science Alert talks of four-winged bird-like robots, called ornithopters. These robots, created by engineers from the University of South Australia mirror the agility of swifts, hummingbirds and insects. The engineers made this possible by reverse engineering the aerodynamics and biomechanics of these creatures. – Read the full story.

“There are existing ornithopters but, until now, they were too inefficient and slow to be agile,” says aerospace engineer at the University of South Australia, Professor Javaan Chahl. “We have overcome these issues with our flapping wing prototype, achieving the same thrust generated by a propeller. Flapping wings can lift like an aeroplane wing, while making thrust like a propeller and braking like a parachute. We have put this together to replicate the aggressive flight patterns of birds by simple tail control.” – See full story here.

Now what is this drone design useful for?

According to an abstract published by ScienceRobotics:

The aerobatic maneuvers of swifts could be very useful for micro aerial vehicle missions. Rapid arrests and turns would allow flight in cluttered and unstructured spaces. – Read full abstract here.

Looks like this type of drone can navigate safely in constricted space because of its ability to glide like a bird, and hover using very little power, and quickly come to a stop when traveling at fast speeds. According to one of the above-mentioned sources, these type of drones – though in their prototype stage – are safe to use around humans. The engineers are still thinking of improving their design so the drones can do more tasks.


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