Drones that “cling to a branch” like birds can fly much longer.

This is a bird! This is a drone! No, it's actually a drone that can cling like a bird. Bats can hover upside down, clinging to something; the birds cling to the roost and sit quietly on it all night That's how new drones could use this power saving technique, grabbing something. “Cling and resting is a way to reduce energy consumption, increase stability and increase the field of view in many cases,” said Kayu Hang of Yale University, an author of an article published in Science Robotics.

According to him, this strategy will be very useful for “cling and watch” applications, when drones are placed on high objects and conduct long-term observations.

To teach a drone to cling to claws

Such shrinkage of the drone was studied earlier, howeveroften required complex maneuvering. The new drone has a grip that allows it to cling to anything that is smaller than the width of its grip: branches, road signs or lights. Engineers have equipped the drone with three guided fingers with “contact modules” (devices that serve as a point of connection with objects), allowing it to imitate the clinging style of various animals, such as bats or birds of prey.

For example, clinging one side to the edge,drone can turn off two propellers and spend about 45% less energy. He can also grab onto a branch and hang upside down, like a bat, and completely turn off all rotors. Either it can perch, and although the screws must be active, it will consume 69% less energy.

Giving the drone a grip can provide themgreater lifting power and safer interaction with people. “As soon as the drone catches on to something, it will be able to lift significantly larger loads, without loading additional rotors,” says Hang.

The next step for the team will be to equip thesedrones for real-world conditions such as the weather outside. If these drones can hover somewhere, they will be capable of the most marathon flights. True, with interruptions.

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