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Surveillance Drone Saves Power by Deliberately Crashing into Walls


A drone in mid-air.

The drone is stable both when hovering and while perching, but transitioning between the two states is challenging.

Credit: Steve Fisher/Alamy

New York University (NYU) researchers have built a small surveillance drone able to extend its battery life by attaching to a wall and powering down its rotors.

The drone, with a typical flying time of 20 minutes, can expand its battery life to as long as four hours by sticking to a wall via Velcro.

The researchers plan to build drone models with a material inspired by gecko feet that will stick to any surface.

NYU's Jeffrey Mao said the prototype drone's landings are violent because "you just have to use the initial momentum to slam it down."

The drone's approach speed and the necessary angle to stick to a wall without damage are calculated by custom software.

In subsequent models, the code to control the landings will be built into autonomous control software that will have the ability to identify suitable perching spots and land and relocate autonomously.

From New Scientist
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