With the goal to make landing of drone on walls as easy as landing on the ground, researchers at Stanford University have developed a drone that can easily perch on walls and ceiling of any building. The team of researchers have compared the drone to that of spiders and bugs, saying that the drone’s microspines stick onto the wall in the same way insects do. An earlier version of this drone technology was showcased last year whereas this recent video highlights the progress it has made since then.
While it is near to impossible for drones to survive in harsh weather conditions, perching is a method that would let the drone stay at the same spot rather than hovering in the same place. To perch on a vertical surface, the quadcopter drone flies straight into a wall moving at a steady pace. The microspines catch against tiny bumps on the surface and hang on using friction. This method allows drones use their batteries in a more efficient manner. Not only does it save the battery it also makes it to operate in weather conditions that it might be impossible to fly.
“While it’s still not as foolproof as landing on a level surface, we are closer than ever to making perching accessible outside of a research environment,” says Morgan Pope, a researcher involved with the project.
But the researchers were soon left thinking that once the drone was perched securely on a wall, how to enable the quadrotor to release and fly away from the wall? Explaining the same, Hao Jiang, explained “During take-off, as the mechanism is released and the quadrotor starts to fall, the microspines on the tail catch on bumps and pits [on the surface] again. The quadrotor then pivots on the tail spines backward away from the surface, and can fly away.”
Taking about the challenges and future, the team says it is looking into new gripping strategies and is also thinking of combining microspines with dry adhesives to stick to a larger array of surfaces.
Watch the video below: