Several Stanford University engineers have come up with an idea to change the landing mode of drones: use claws so they can perch on trees as if they were birds. The result It is the one you can see in the image, a drone with four propellers and 3D printed legs.
You don’t need to waste batteries flying if you can do your job posing on a branch
The legs are inspired by those of the peregrine falcon, a bird present on almost every continent on the planet. Each leg can move independently, and it uses small springs to add tension when holding onto a tree branch. Thanks to that, the drone can swing and balance taking advantage of its own weight.
Those responsible for this experiment comment on what has been most difficult for them to achieve, which is to adapt to the conditions of the tree branches. A conventional drone has it very easy to land on a flat surface, but holding onto a branch has many factors such as humidity, type of tree, if there is mold or moss or if there are other branches around that can complicate the “tree planting”.
The logical question at this point is: what is the benefit of giving a drone bird’s feet? Well, we have it especially in autonomy. While a conventional drone can only fly for a few minutes, this drone can perch on a tree branch at a certain height and keep doing your job without having to move your propellers.
That job can be monitor a forest area, or even rescue tasks. A drone can add much more surveillance time if it simply perches on a strategically tall tree and continues to scan the ground with its cameras without continually hovering over the area.
For Stanford, the next step for drones is that in addition to being able to perch in this way, they can fly at high speeds like any large bird of prey. Perhaps, in the future, a drone only needs our arm to be able to land instead of landing.