It seems as if drones are just getting techier and techier, and that the limits for refining and improving them are endless. One of the latest new inventions for drones are landing structures, giving them the ability to perch on structures mid-way through flight.
A dedicated team of researchers comprised of individuals from the U.S., Sweden, and China have been talking about their new creation and how it could prove useful:
Tackling limits to the amount of time drones can remain in the air:
While the technology associated with batteries has certainly improved in recent years, it still has very real limits and this can be incredibly frustrating for drone users wanting to fly for hours at a time, rather than a matter of mere minutes. Thinking about these limits, the team of researchers focused their attention on developing a way for a drone to rest during its flight, rather than on improving and extending battery life.
The researchers drew a lot of their inspiration from the natural world, in particular birds and bats. In noticing that many birds take only short flights, moving frequently from one lofty position to another, they came up with the idea of enabling their drone to rest during a mission, in much the same way as birds do. Birds often perch on trees, chimneys, and rooftops while they regain their strength. Bats also rest in a similar way, latching themselves onto branches or other such perch-like structures and hanging upside down while they rest.
So, the researchers quickly began working on designing landing gear that would enable a drone to land on a flat or semi-flat surface, dangle from an object or even perform a procedure much like leaning against something, a window sill for example.
The landing gear itself:
Similar in looks to the talons of a hawk, the landing gear allows the drone to deactivate its rotors, therefore saving the life of the battery, but enabling any onboard camera to continue to function if required, giving the drone pilot the opportunity to continue monitoring conditions below.
Testing has so far been restricted to laboratory conditions, while the design team try to figure out how to enable the drones to land and take off without assistance. However, the researchers are confident that their landing gear will soon give drones the ability to perch on tall structures in much the same way as birds.
Drones are continually improving and advancing in technology, and keeping up with the changes can be exciting, particularly if you use drones on a regular basis for recreational purposes, or as a career.