A team of researchers from the Caltech University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has recently announced that they’ve designed an entirely new type of drone. Called Bat Bot, the new drone designed by the researchers closely mimics the bat’s complex flight. Bat Bot is the fruit of many years of research and approximately $2.2 million.
When talking about drones, probably the first thing that pops into your mind is DJI’s iconic airframe design. The truth is that most of the drones currently available on the market have that DJI look upon them. However, a team of researchers from Caltech and the University of Illinois might change the way we look at drones.
Introducing Bat Bot, the world’s first autonomous drone to be shaped after the iconic cave-dwelling mammal. Bat Bot is a major step forward in terms of robotics and drone production since the device ditches the traditional quad engines for a pair of wings held together by a thin silicone sheet.
Alireza Rameni, one of the scientists involved in the Bat Bot project, declared that it was a challenge to put together the bat-inspired drone. Although it might not seem like it, the common cave has one of the most advanced flying system known to man.
The reason why researchers found it so hard to replicated the bat’s maneuverability is that the bat’s wings contain no more than 40 highly-flexible joints, which allows it to perform complex air maneuvers. Looking at how a bat flies is one thing, but constructing a robot that mirrors the bat’s unique flying skills is truly a feat of engineering.
Although Bat Bot is far from being ready to hit the market, the researchers declared that it could do almost anything as its biological peer, minus the hanging from the ceiling thing.
As Rameni declared, Bat Bot weighs around 100 grams, and its wings are held together by a thin silicone sheet. To achieve the bat’s astounding flying skills, the researchers outfitted the drone with four highly flexible and adaptable joints, five motors, one microprocessor, and tens of sensors.
So, what’s next? According to the team who designed and constructed Bat Bot, the drone will be extremely useful for search-and-rescue operations, building management, and, perhaps, with a little tinkering, it can be deployed during military operations in order to recon enemy positions.
For now, the team is trying to refine Bat Bot’s awesome flying skills and to deliver it in a form that’s easy to produce en masse.
Image source: Flickr