Scientists have developed a falcon-style drone that can also land on branches.
Birds have always served people as role models. Many early aircraft attempted to recreate the mechanics of flickering flight with somewhat limited success. But besides flight, most birds have another ability, which is to land on almost any surface, like small branches.
Three researchers from Stanford University have taken a closer look at this aspect and have equipped a drone with mechanical legs that can also land on branches. Mark Cutkosky, David Lintink, and William Rodrik have now contributed to Robotics Science. describe itHow does the Nature-Inspired Modular Air Clutch (SNAG) work?
Inspired by the parrot and the peregrine falcon
Using a 3D printer, the researchers created a pair of legs with robotic joints. Bones of hawks and parrots were used as models here. If the legs touch a branch, the claws can wrap around it within 20 milliseconds.
Then this chassis was attached to an ordinary drone, more precisely a quadcopter. Test excursions in the woods have shown that SNAG is also working in practice. But for now, humans still control the drone, and the next goal is autonomous flight.
The possibility of monitoring forest areas
Claws can be used not only to land on branches but also to catch and move objects. In tests, for example, SNAG managed to catch a dumped tennis ball.
Such drones can be used, for example, to monitor remote forest areas. If it is not currently active, it can simply land on a branch and thus save battery. This enables longer deployments before the drone is recharged.
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