Hummingbird-like unmanned flying drone developed at Purdue to push limits of micro technology

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Engineers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., have built an unmanned flying drone to mimic one of the most expert flyers in the natural world: the hummingbird. Popular Mechanics reports.

May 14th, 2019
Hummingbird-like unmanned flying drone developed at Purdue to push limits of micro technology
Hummingbird-like unmanned flying drone developed at Purdue to push limits of micro technology
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Engineers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., have built an unmanned flying drone to mimic one of the most expert flyers in the natural world: the hummingbird. Popular Mechanics reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

14 May 2019 -- Drones wish they could fly with the agility and grace of the biological family Trochilidae, which includes all 357 types of hummingbirds. Boasting the flying capabilities of birds and the hovering abilities of insects, they represent an intersection of flying philosophies that scientists are eager to unlock.

Hummingbirds could lead to leaps forward for search-and-rescue drones, commercial filming robots, military use, and any other flying venture that is punctuated by quick, unexpected stops and starts.

The Purdue engineers trained their tiny unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) through an algorithm based on various techniques that hummingbirds from the Andes to America use every day. After going through the training, the robot has an understanding, so to speak, of when to pause and when to take flight. Even more impressive? The robot can't actually see. It senses by touching surfaces, with each touch altering an electrical current.

Related: Engineered by nature: UAV designs modeled after biological sources

Related: Micro-unmanned vehicles invade the military on the ground and in the air

Related: Army asks Norwegian company to design Black Hornet pocket UAV helicopter for foot soldiers

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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