Fiberglass Drone Almost Flies Like an Actual Bird

Jan 02 2017

A group of researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed a drone that uses artificial feathers to increase its precision during flight. The feathers are made of fiberglass and covered in a durable nylon fabric, along with a lightweight carbon fiber shaft which the researchers say maximizes strength while reducing overall weight.

The team wanted to develop a bio-inspired drone that could meet various aerodynamic requirements. It had to be capable of flying between obstacles, making sharp turns and coping with strong winds. After observing birds in flight, the researchers had the idea of building an energy-efficient winged drone capable of changing its wingspan mid-flight, flying at high speed and moving through tight spaces.

In addition to providing strength and light weight, composites gave the researchers the design flexibility necessary to make an aerodynamic morphing mechanism.
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