Nearly everyone one knows how to build a drone, but only a handful decided that they should do it differently and actually innovates. CycloTech, ADIFO, Festo, and Passerine are among some of the handful innovators, and now, Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) aka Swiss Federal Institute of Technology too.
The institute’s Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS) has been researching and developing “feathered” drone inspired by nature’s avian creatures since 2016. The earlier version saw the drone rocking a morphing wing to enable it to fly fast while maintaining agility like sharp turning.
Recently, EPFL has revealed an updated version that has a morphing tail in addition to the morphing wing. However, it does not have flapping wings, yet. Instead, the northern goshawk raptor-inspired drone with morphing wing and tail has a rotor at the nose for forward propulsion.
With both the wing and tail having the morphing ability, the drone can now fly even faster, slow down on a dime, and change direction even more rapidly. With this latest version, EPFL has kind of step up the game in biomimicry. All it needs now is flapping wing and lend the “legs” of the Passerine to complete the package.
While it can’t hover like quadcopter or multicopter, it does have the agility with the added bonus of flight endurance. Possible applications include search and rescue, medical supplies delivery over long distances and land surveying – basically applications where agility and endurance are required. EPFL said that this technology could even scale up for bigger aircraft.
Source: New Atlas.