The northern goshawk is a fast and powerful bird of prey that can fly through the forest effortlessly. This bird is the design inspiration for the next generation of drones developed by scientists in the EPFL Intelligent Systems Laboratory led by Dario Floreano. They carefully studied the shape of the bird̵
Enrico Ajanic (Enrico Ajanic) said: “Goshawk links its wings and tail to perform the required actions, whether it’s rapidly changing direction when hunting in the forest, flying quickly when chasing prey in open areas, or sliding effectively. To save energy”, first author and PhD. Student in Floreano Lab. And Floreano added: “Our design extracts the principle of agile flight of birds to create a drone that can approximate the flight performance of raptors, and also tests the biological hypothesis that the abnormal tail is achieving faster It plays an important role in turning, decelerating and even flying slowly.”
A drone that moves its wings and tail
Engineers first designed a bird-shaped drone with deformed wings in 2016. Taking a step forward, their new model uses its artificial feathers to adjust the shape of the wings and tail. “The design and construction of these mechanisms is quite complicated, but we can improve the wings to make them behave more like goshawks,” Ajanic said. “Now, drones include feathery tails that deform in concert with the wings, which provide unparalleled agility.”
The drone will change the shape of its wings and tail to change direction more quickly, fly slowly without falling to the ground, and reduce air resistance during fast flight. It uses propellers to push forward instead of flapping the wings because it is more efficient and makes the new wing and tail system suitable for other winged drones and aircraft.
Compared with the quad-rotor design, the advantage of the wing UAV is that the flight time of the same weight is longer. However, quadrotors tend to have greater flexibility because they can hover in place and turn. “The drone we just developed is somewhere in the middle. It can fly for a long time, but it’s almost as agile as a quadrotor,” Floriano said. The combination of these functions is particularly useful for flying in cities between forests or buildings.
Artificial intelligence opportunities
Since there may be a large number of wing and tail configurations, flying this new type of drone is not easy. In order to make full use of the drone’s flying capabilities, Floreano’s team plans to integrate artificial intelligence into the drone’s flight system so that it can fly semi-automatically.The team’s research results have been published in Scientific robot.
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E. Ajanic et al., “The biologically inspired wing and tail deformation extend the flying capabilities of drones,” Scientific robot (2020). robotics.sciencemag.org/lookup…/scirobotics.abc2897
Courtesy of the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne
Citation: Drone inspired by the raptor with deformed wings and tail (October 28, 2020), from https://techxplore.com/news/2020-10-raptor-inspired-drone-morphing-wing-tail .html retrieved to October 28, 2020.
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