Scientists have come up with a patented design for drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, that works in windy conditions, is more energy efficient and can handle a larger payload.
Most drones are not able to withstand wind because of their fixed-arm design, according to the study published in the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control.
“Our drone design was inspired by the wings and flight patterns of insects,” said Xiumin Diao, an assistant professor at Purdue University in the US.
“We created a drone design with automatic folding arms that can make in-flight adjustments,” Diao said in a statement.
He said the design provides drones with improved stability in windy conditions because the folding arms can move and change the centre of gravity of the device during flight.
Diao said the design also makes drones more energy efficient because the movable-arm technology allows for the use of the full range of rotor thrust.
“The drones on the market now have fixed arms and that greatly reduces their maximum payload capacity when the payload is offset their center of gravity,” he said.
“Our design allows a larger payload because the movable arms can liberate part of rotor thrust to fight the weight on the overall device,” Diao said.
He said the foldable arms also can help in search-and-rescue operations using drones because they can more effectively navigate the air conditions in ravaged areas and morph by moving the arms to go through narrow spaces.