Scientists say they have developed a novel autonomous flying robot that mimics the rapid flight of insects.
Experiments with the free-flying and agile flapping-wing robot improve the understanding of how fruit flies control aggressive escape maneuvers, said researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
The robot, named DelFly Nimble, has exceptional flight qualities which open up new drone applications, they said.
Flying animals both power and control flight by flapping their wings, according to the research published in the journal Science.
This enables small natural flyers such as insects to hover close to a flower, but also to escape danger rapidly.
As in flying insects, the robot’s flapping wings, beating 17 times per second, not only generate the lift force needed to stay airborne, but also control the flight via minor adjustments in the wing motion.
Inspired by fruit flies, the robot’s control mechanisms have proven to be highly effective, allowing it to hover on the spot and fly in any direction with high agility.