A bird-like micro aerial vehicle perching on a human hand
Although winged micro air vehicles (MAVs) are pretty impressive in the free flight, one of the skills that has proven difficult for them to master is the bird-like perched landing. Aerospace engineers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, however, have now achieved it – they’ve developed an MAV that is capable of landing on an outstretched human hand.
According to the researchers, a bird’s typical perching maneuver consists of it gliding over to its landing spot, followed by a sudden swoop up – this slows it down and causes it to stall, so it can then drop down onto its perch. This is difficult for autonomous aircraft, as the action takes place very quickly, and requires great precision.
The MAV accomplishes it, however, via articulated wings with movable trailing edge flaps, and a movable horizontal bird-like tail. Controlling these flight surfaces is an onboard microcontroller, which is running custom algorithms.
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