Scientists want to build a robotic albatross

Researchers are taking cues for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the wandering albatross, an enormous seabird that is uniquely adapted to soar great distances with minimal effort.

Researchers are taking cues for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the wandering albatross, an enormous seabird that is uniquely adapted to soar great distances with minimal effort. The goal? Design new drones that fly by harnessing power from the wind and sun. The drones would be ideal for missions to remote regions where there is no place to recharge batteries along the way. Albatross-inspired drones could lead search-and-rescue efforts or patrol-protected marine areas to make sure no one is illegally fishing in them, as well as collect atmospheric data to enable meteorologists to better forecast the paths of hurricanes and storms.

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