ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom ISO 9001 & UKAS Registered, Electron Beam Services in the United Kingdom

03/01/17
Drones have evolved considerably in recent years, becoming smaller, more agile and more affordable than ever before. Retailer Amazon even made its first delivery by drone earlier this month, with plans to expand the service throughout 2017.

But now researchers at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have suggested that drone developers within the aerospace industry should look to nature for some inspiration - namely birds.

In the research, which was originally published in the journal Interface Focus, the team suggested that if you want a small, aerodynamic craft that can manoeuvre quickly and easily you need to design drones that mimic birds.

Among their recommendations are for drones to have smaller, swept-back wings, and to feature flexible, folding artificial feathers on the ends of the wings. The institute’s researchers have even designed a prototype to demonstrate how the technology could be implemented.

These artificial feathers, which are made from fiberglass and a thin layer of nylon, can be controlled separately or as one, giving the drone much more manoeuverability than standard remote controlled craft.

While this new drone design is impressive, it’s far from ready to take to the skies on a large scale. As with any kind of aircraft, there will need to be rigorous testing of its parts to ensure they’re durable and safe, and that the drone can fly and be operated safely in an urban environment.

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