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Insect-Inspired Mechanical Resilience for Multicopters

  • Authors: Mintchev, Stefano; de Rivaz, Sébastien Douglas; Floreano, Dario

The ease of use and versatility of drones has contributed to their deployment in several fields, from entertainment to search and rescue. However, drones remain vulnerable to collisions due to pilot mistakes or various system failures. This paper presents a bioinspired strategy for the design of quadcopters resilient to collisions. Abstracting the biomechanical strategy of collision resilient insects’ wings, the quadcopter has a dual-stiffness frame that rigidly withstands aerodynamic loads within the flight envelope, but can soften and fold during a collision to avoid damage. The dual-stiffness frame works in synergy with specific energy absorbing materials that protect the sensitive components of the drone hosted in the central case. The proposed approach is compared to other state-of- the art collision-tolerance strategies and is validated in a 50g quadcopter that can withstand high speed collisions.

Posted on: February 18, 2017