World News – AU – Raptor inspired drone with wing and tail morph


IMAGE: Enrico Ajanic with the drone inspired by raptors developed at EPFL
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The Northern Goshawk is a fast and powerful raptor that flies effortlessly through forests This bird inspired the design of the new generation drone developed by scientists at EPFL’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory led by Dario Floreano They carefully studied the shape of the bird’s wings and tail and its flight behavior, and used this information to develop a drone with similar characteristics. « Northern Goshawks move their wings and tails in tandem to perform the desired movement, whether it is rapid changes of direction when hunting in forests, or rapid flight when chasing a prey in open ground or during efficient gliding to save energy « , explains Enrico Ajanic, first author and doctoral student in Floreano’s laboratory. Floreano adds » Our design extracts the principles of agile avian flight to create a drone that can approximate the flight performance of raptors, but also tests the biological hypothesis that a morph tail plays an important role in achieving faster turns, decelerations and even slow flight « 

The engineers already designed a bird-inspired drone with a morphing wing in 2016 In a step forward, their new model can adjust the shape of its wing and tail thanks to its artificial feathers “It was quite complicated to design and build these mechanisms, but we were able to improve the wing so that it behaves more like that of a wood pigeon « , explains Ajanic » Now that the drone includes a feathered tail which transforms into synergy with the wing, it offers unparalleled agility « The drone changes the shape of its wing and tail to change direction faster, fly slower without falling to the ground and reduce air resistance when flying fast It uses a propeller for forward thrust instead of wing flapping as it is more efficient and makes the new wing and tail system applicable to other drones and winged planes

The advantage of winged drones over quadrotor models is that they have a longer flight time for the same weight.However, quadrotors tend to have greater dexterity, as they can hover in place and perform sharp turns « The drone we have just developed is somewhere in the middle It can fly a long time but is almost as agile as quadrotors », says Floreano This combination of features is particularly useful for flying in forests or in cities between buildings

Flying this new type of drone is not easy, due to the large number of possible wing and tail configurations. To take full advantage of the drone’s flight capabilities, the Floreano team plans to integrate the artificial intelligence in the flight system of the drone so that it can fly semi-automatically The team’s research has been published in Science Robotics

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Robot, Hawk, unmanned aerial vehicle, artificial intelligence

News from the world – AU – Raptor inspired drone with wing and tail morphing
Associated title :
Raptor-inspired drone with morphing wing and tail
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Hawk inspired robot with movable wings is an agile long distance flyer


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