Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success

Date:
March 6, 2008
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
The RoboSwift, the micro-aircraft inspired by the swift, has made its first flight. The small, quiet aircraft is equipped with observation cameras that can be used in the future to study birds or to conduct surveillance of groups of people or vehicles.

Roboswift in flight. The RoboSwift steers by sweeping back one wing more than the other. The difference in wing position allows RoboSwift to make very sharp turns.
Credit: G.Ackermans, Wageningen UR

The RoboSwift, the micro-aircraft inspired by the swift, has made its first flight. In recent months, aerospace engineering students at Delft University of Technology have developed the aircraft in cooperation with the Experimental Zoology Group of Wageningen University, Netherlands. The small, quiet aircraft is equipped with observation cameras that can be used in the future to study birds or to conduct surveillance of groups of people or vehicles. The National Police Services Agency (KLPD) has announced that it is going to financially support the development of the RoboSwift.

Between 10 and 15 March, the group of students who developed the RoboSwift will be competing in an international contest in India for micro-aircraft: the American-Asian Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Competition.

KLPD

The Dutch National Police Services Agency (KLPD) is continually looking for innovations that are applicable to police work and sees possibilities in the Roboswift. It is therefore supporting the project financially. For example, the RoboSwift could help the police in case of accidents, demonstrations and in enforcement and surveillance.

Morphing wings

The RoboSwift is characterised by the continuously variable shape of its wings, known as ‘morphing' wings, which are modelled on the wings of the swift. These wings make the aircraft, like its living model, very manoeuvrable and efficient. As a result, the RoboSwift is the first aircraft in the world to have the wing properties of living birds. Wind tunnel tests have shown that it can come remarkably close to the exceptional flying ability of the swift.

With a wingspan of approximately 50 cm and a weight of less than 100 g, the RoboSwift is a good deal smaller than standard model aeroplanes. To gain elevation, it is equipped with a very quiet electric motor with a propeller. The silhouette of the RoboSwift is similar to that of an actual swift, which makes it less noticeable than other observation aircraft and helicopters. The ‘pilot’ is now being trained in birdlike flying behaviour, which will later include gliding flights. During gliding flights, the motor is turned off and the propeller folds up so the aircraft can fly even more quietly and save energy.

If equipped with micro-cameras that can observe in various directions, interesting applications for the RoboSwift are conceivable. For example, in the future the researchers hope to be able to observe wild birds from nearby without disturbing them by using birdlike aircraft such as the RoboSwift. This would allow new forms of biological research to be conducted. It would also make it possible to perform inconspicuous surveillance of groups of people or vehicles (crowd control).

‘Bio-inspired'

The students based the project on the findings of their supervisor, David Lentink of Wageningen University. In April 2007, with several co-authors he published a study in the journal Nature about the aerodynamic properties of the swift. During its lifetime, a swift flies a distance comparable to five roundtrips to the Moon and can remain in the air continuously for 7000 kilometres. Lentink and his associates discovered that the swift can fly so efficiently and manoeuvre so well because it continuously adapts the shape of its wings to the flying conditions. Studies such as his were the inspiration to develop aircraft based on bird's wings, which is known as ‘bio-inspired’ design.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304192104.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2008, March 6). First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304192104.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "First Flight Of The RoboSwift Micro-Airplane Is A Success." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080304192104.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The Porsche Spyder 918 proves that, in an automotive world obsessed with fuel efficiency, the supercar is not dead. Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen attributes the brand's consistent sales growth -- 21% in 2013 -- with an investment in new technology and expanded performance dynamics. The hybrid Spyder 918 has 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, but it can run 18 miles on just an electric charge. The $845,000 vehicle is not a consumer-targeted vehicle but a brand statement. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) After seeing auto sales grow last month, there's plenty for the industry to celebrate as it rolls out its newest designs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) Ford celebrated the 50th birthday of its beloved Mustang by displaying a new model of the convertible on top of the Empire State Building in New York. Duration: 00:28 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins