Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A bird? A plane? Or both? Bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds

Date:
April 7, 2014
Source:
RMIT University
Summary:
Researchers are developing a bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds, boosting energy efficiency and endurance. The research team is aiming to be the first in the world to demonstrate an autonomous unmanned aircraft that can mimic birds by using updrafts around buildings to stay airborne.

Dr Reece Clothier with a prototype of a bio-inspired unmanned aircraft, under development at RMIT University.
Credit: Image courtesy of RMIT University

RMIT University researchers in Melbourne, Australia, are developing bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds, boosting energy efficiency and endurance.

Related Articles


In collaboration with Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), the research team is aiming to be the first in the world to demonstrate an autonomous unmanned aircraft that can mimic birds by using updrafts around buildings to stay airborne.

Lead researcher Dr Reece Clothier said soaring birds used positive air flows generated around features such as cliffs or large buildings to maintain lift.

"This research aims to develop the sensing and control systems that will allow a small fixed-wing unmanned aircraft to achieve the same thing," Dr Clothier said.

"Birds make soaring look easy, but when we try to mimic what they know by instinct, we realise just how far advanced nature is in its designs."

The focus is on proving the feasibility of "urban" soaring, combining real-time sensing of wind with complex flow models to locate possible positive airflows around large buildings. Flying a small aircraft in those updrafts could significantly increase its endurance.

Dr Jennifer Palmer, a Senior Research Scientist in the Aerospace Division of DSTO, said the long-term goal was to design an unmanned aircraft that could autonomously predict airflows in its surrounding environment and -- by using this information -- minimise its energy consumption, maximise its endurance and avoid areas of high turbulence.

"Small aircraft used for communications relay or surveillance and reconnaissance could greatly benefit by having a means of exploiting naturally occurring updrafts and avoiding the deleterious effects of turbulence in urban environments," Dr Palmer said.

"DSTO undertakes research in a number of areas related to autonomous unmanned aircraft, and this is a great opportunity to engage with academia on a project with both scientific challenges and real-world outcomes."

The project is supported by the Defence Science Institute.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

RMIT University. "A bird? A plane? Or both? Bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407090357.htm>.
RMIT University. (2014, April 7). A bird? A plane? Or both? Bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407090357.htm
RMIT University. "A bird? A plane? Or both? Bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407090357.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Army Completes Ebola Treatment Unit

US Army Completes Ebola Treatment Unit

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 22, 2014) The US Army of engineers completes Ebola treatment center in Liberia. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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