Drones like an insect

Drones fly like an insect

Incredible agility, such as the housefly and fruit fly, makes all robots and drones blush. But devices imitating them are finally catching up. The newly created four-winged flapping robot not only succeeded in imitating the fruit fly’s too agile flight method but also can fly up to 1 km on a single charge.   Robotics researchers at the Delft University of Technology wanted to create a flying vehicle to actually implement and verify the theory they had put together about how insects fly as a robot. Of course, it is wireless, and there should be no propelling mechanism such as propellers that insects do not have.  

They didn’t just want to make cool robots that flapping forward. Reaction and control are extremely fast when insects respond to wind gusts or the movements of a person’s hand that tries to hit them. It would be great if an autopilot drones or a small airplane could have such information transmission ability. Wouldn’t it be nice if the jet airliner you were riding on could avoid lightning automatically and smoothly?   But when it’s much larger than an insect, its flight method is too large to work.

Their flapping robots graced the cover of Science magazine and featured their paper:   Due to severe weight and size constraints, many previous designs have failed to reach the flight capabilities of their original creatures. They (Drones) lacked the required level of agility, lacked the power to take off, and could not carry enough energy to fly for more than a minute.   Not only that, but small robots like the Robobee also require cables to connect to a power source, while other small flutters require manual wired control.

Then no! Therefore, Delft’s team sought to stop mimicking the biological mechanisms of small animals faithfully and achieve the same flight characteristics at a realistic size.   Their four-tailed, tailless style of creation, DelFly Nimble, is quirky but unquestionably effective. Their robots fly at a speed of 7 meters per second (about 25 kilometers per hour), can hover in place, and perform all extreme movements, including swoops and turns. Instead of jokes, they can actually be done with a rotor with continuous thrust. Adjust and control the movement of the blades.   

Probably the most amazing thing is its range. This robot can fly 1 km on a single charge. Numbers such as “km” for unmanned robots are almost specifications for military equipment.   But Del Fly Nimble has also created some interesting scientific data. Research Leader Matěj Karásek explains:   Unlike animal experiments, you have complete control over what happens in your robot’s brain. Therefore, it is possible to find and describe a new passive aerodynamic mechanism that assists flight. From that, you can understand the mechanism of the direct control of other flying animals during the high-speed tilting turn.   Development continues, and more and more letters of interest have been sent from biologists and government agencies to Dutch inventors.

Bionic drone

This strange “silver-wing butterfly” quietly lay on a bright bonsai, watching the surrounding environment vigilantly. Whenever someone “breaks into” its territory, it will flutter its wings and dance around the “intruder”. The light dancing posture shows the elegance of the aerial dancer…

Recently, in a French aviation laboratory, a drone that resembles a butterfly has attracted everyone’s attention in this unique way.

Throughout the development history of drones, various powerful drones have emerged one after another, but this bionic drone named “MetaFly” stands out in the drone family with its peculiar shape design and flying method. Eyes” countless.

The so-called “Bionic UAV” is an artificial aircraft developed by imitating the flight mode and control system of natural organisms and combining fluid mechanics, material science, microsystem control and other technical means. In-flight mode, it is different from fixed-wing and rotary-wing UAVs, but like insects, by flapping the wings up and down, causing the air pressure difference between the upper and lower of the fuselage, and then pushing the aircraft up and down.

The same is “flapping wings” flying, why imitate fluttering butterflies instead of flying birds? Choosing the type of imitation is a key topic in the initial discussion of the R&D team. They found that although the flight speed and altitude of birds in nature are much higher than that of insects, compared to birds with more complex body structures, insect wings generally have only wing veins instead of the huge and complex nervous system in bird wings.

It is not like birds that need to control the entire body to achieve the effect of adjusting the flight attitude. Insect wings integrate power, lift and control into one. They can instantly adjust the vibration frequency, amplitude, and vibration angle to control and respond to changes in airflow, with extremely low power consumption in various complex environments and high maneuverability for a long time. Safe flight. Therefore, the R&D team finally decided to develop a butterfly with a simple structure and a light-weight butterfly.

They strictly follow the standards of aerodynamics and fluid mechanics and use strong and lightweight carbon fiber to construct the UAV fuselage support. While ensuring the firmness of the fuselage, they greatly reduce the flying burden of the UAV and enhance the flight effect. The fuselage is equipped with a set of micro control units responsible for receiving and processing control signals, a mechanical coreless motor that provides kinetic energy for the wings, and a pair of lithium polymer batteries. The fuselage is streamlined as a whole, about 19 cm long, and weighing about 10 grams.

In addition, the R&D team also designed a pair of translucent “wings” made of liquid crystal polymer as the main material for “MetaFly”. As an important support for drone flight, this is half the “wing” of the drone fuselage, which is the largest component in the overall design of the drone. However, due to its good ductility and flexibility, it is light and flexible during flight, and can withstand the disturbance of unstable airflow and obstacles encountered in flight to a certain extent.

At present, in view of the easy camouflage and simple structure of bionic UAVs, bionic UAV companies in many countries have extended their research and development directions to more fields. They hope to further improve the structure of the UAV, increase the endurance of the UAV, and mount more electronic components on the UAV to achieve the purpose of scanning, reconnaissance, search, discrimination, and tracking.

Researchers of a German technology company have continuously guided a flying echelon composed of bionic drones to perform space scanning and scene reproduction tasks in specific areas by installing high-speed infrared probes in the drone flight area. The on-site engineers manually entered flight instructions through the computer, and various colors of “butterflies” flew up and flew across the area, sending the scanned space information to the side processor as soon as possible. Through the simultaneous processing of the software, a digital stereoscopic modeling figure was quickly established.

Foreign experts said that if bionic drones are used in the future battlefield to perform tracking and positioning, precision strikes and other tasks, facing their characteristics that are almost consistent with the appearance and flight status of ordinary insects, general radar or other reconnaissance methods on the current battlefield It is difficult to make accurate judgments, and its role in the future military field cannot be underestimated.

Also read about The devices with the mind


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