An international team of engineers has developed a drone prototype that mimics one of the world’s fastest birds, the swift.
The team, led by the National University of Singapore research scientist Dr Yao-Wei Chin, has designed the 26 gram flapping wing drone that can perform aggressive bird flight manoeuvres and it is similar in size to a swift or a large moth.
“Unlike common quadcopters that are quite intrusive and not very agile, biologically-inspired drones could be used very successfully in a range of environments,” said Dr Yao-Wei Chin, a research scientist from the National University of Singapore who led the project.
“The light weight and the slow beating wings of the ornithopter poses less danger to the public that quadcopter drones in the event of a crash and given sufficient thrust and power banks it could be modified to carry different payloads depending on what is required.”
“There are existing ornithopters that can fly forward and backwards as well as circling and gliding, but until now, they haven’t been able to hover or climb. We have overcome these issues with our prototype,” said Professor Javaan Chahl, an aerospace engineer from the University of South Australia who was involved in the project.
The researchers expect the first commercial use of the drone could be in monitoring large crowds or inspecting crops in fields.
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